ANACOCO – Tucked away on a side street in Anacoco is a building that reminds people of an older time.
Dwight Rachal built his own service station in his backyard, which started as a place for him and his employees to take breaks.
"I started when I was kid, because a lot of the stuff I saved," he said. "We started building this station in the '70s. I collected a lot of stuff, like the gas pumps and I didn't want to just sit it somewhere. I wanted to build something so it would look like it would in its natural habitat. I found this picture of this station that was built in 1938. I helped a guy a tear down a room in Fort Polk, and we took the lumber.
"When I'm working outside, it's a place to go."
The station is equipped with all antique objects, ranging from fan belts to oil cans, with the rule of no barcodes on each piece.
"In 1994, we went to Dearborn, Michigan and on our way, we traveled all backroads," Rachal said. "We went to every antique shop we could find in Kentucky, Georgia, all up through there. We would buy it and have it shipped to us."
Dwight and his wife Vickie have collected pieces from all across the country and brought them back to Anacoco to add to his project.
The last addition was made in the mid-1990s, and the key now is to keep it clean to allow the vintage collectables to last for generations to come.
Some of the pieces include two gas pumps, one from the 1950s and one from the 1960s, that would still be operational if they had gas in them.
Other pieces include Coca-Cola bottles, thermometers, a gumball machine, a 1950 calendar and a never-worn before Gulf hat.
One of his other projects is a 44-foot long, 6-foot wide train set, that is as detailed as possible.
The large platform features realistic trains that make accurate noises of a steam or diesel engine.
The buildings and the layout, when he has it finished, will look similar to the landscape of Sabine Parish on one side, Vernon Parish in the middle and Beauregard Parish on the other side.
Rachal's background is in electronics and he used his training to build the station and the train set. He says he's not an expert on one thing, but knows a lot about a lot of things.