Hidden Casper: Long-lost Chevy relics appear during Nolan renovation - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Hidden Casper: Long-lost Chevy relics appear during Nolan renovation

A display case dating from the late-1940s was apparently used to demonstrate car radios. It was found in the ceiling during demolition at the old Nolan Chevrolet and Plains Furniture building. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – Relics from automotive’s early days are being unearthed as crews strip decades of additions and construction away from an old car dealership and furniture store.

Now known as “The Nolan,” the spot was originally home to Nolan Chevrolet starting around 1924.

It remained a Chevy dealership and maintenance garage until 1970, when it was purchased by Plains Furniture and a few years later given a dramatic remodel. That remodel enshrined whatever wasn’t cleared from the dealership when the business left.

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The loft containing the parts storage room was behind this facade of the old Nolan Chevrolet building. The structure above was part of the Plains Furniture addition. It is in the process of being dismantled. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

That and subsequent remodels have mostly been stripped away, but even after decades as a furniture store, some remnants of its dealership days remained within the walls and new ceilings.

One of the most curious is what appears to be a display dating back to the 1940s meant to demonstrate car radios. The “DeLuxe” brand was commonly used by GM for its Chevrolet line on higher end models and fancy add-ons. It was common for local dealerships to sell and install aftermarket equipment such as radios for a tidy profit.

A cramped loft space in the center of the building was used for parts storage for many years. Crews have found beer cans and cigarette packs among the parts during demolition, suggesting employees may have had a safe place away from pesky managers to unwind.

Crews are demolishing a loft area in the center part of the former Nolan Chevrolet building. The loft was used to store parts. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Ghost signs have appeared as well. A Packard sign appeared on a formally outside wall on the building’s south side, suggesting a Packard affiliation on the spot before Nolan Chevrolet opened.

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Billing and order forms, advertising flats and sample seat covers have also appeared.

The building at South David is currently being redeveloped by FLAG Development, LLC, which intends to build up-market townhouses, business spaces and an open courtyard while keeping as much of the old buildings as possible.

Read our story detailing the history of Nolan Chevrolet here.

Order forms for the parts department. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A pack of Lucky’s. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Order or billings forms for the Nolan Chevrolet maintenance department. Note the phone number 2100. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Possibly ad slicks used for newspaper advertising, likely from the 1940s judging by the design of the Chevy logo. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A chart with seat cover samples and exterior paint options, likely from the 1940s. The copy below reads, “This chart demonstrates how Genuine Chevrolet DeLuxe Seat Covers harmonize with all Chevrolet car colors.” It continues, “Smart styling and expert tailoring assure the utmost in comfort and pleasure.” (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Various new replacement parts, among many found inside walls and ceilings. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Delco replacement lamp. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A closeup of the radio demonstration display likely kept in the showroom. On the right the faint copy reads “Fits all model Chevrolets 1942 thru 1948.” At left the copy hypes a three-position tone control, 5 tubes and “automatic push button tuning.” (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
Part of a Packard ghost sign inside the southern corner of the building. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
“Drive Slow, Blow Your Horn” reads the ghost sign on the inside of the front facade of what was originally the maintenance garage. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)