PILOT POINT - Pilot Point is slowly being preserved.
"Happy Thursday," David Delcourt II says in a cheerful tone accompanied by a smile. He leads the way to a small beige building with a red stripe at the bottom and a gas pump out in front. Workers are busy fixing up the building, but not as a gas station.
"Here it is," Delcourt says. This building will soon be a "dine-out" restaurant.
Magnolia Station was built in the 1930s in Pilot Point, one of the oldest cities in Denton County. The gas pump is still set at 34 and 9/10 cents per gallon.
The station was about to be razed, but Delcourt knew he could save it by putting it to use. The station's new role will reflect his love for history, cooking and making people happy.
"I like history and I like preserving Texas," Delcourt said. "I'm Texan; I'm fifth-generation. I like my state. I have to give back. It's given me a lot: heritage, lifestyle, wealth, freedom and a bit of an attitude."
Delcourt moved to Pilot Point from Flower Mound in 2006. He was immediately attracted to Pilot Point's history. The house he lives in, right next door to the Magnolia Station, was once the city's first free-standing medical clinic. The house still looks much the same as it once did, and he is proud to be preserving history.
"I don't want to run a gas station. The building will stay the same, but the business will come and go. I want to cook food, make people happy and have a good time," Delcourt said.
Outside the station, a sign with an arrow points to the square, located about a mile away and home to several historic buildings.
Bruce Thomas, the city's Main Street director, said that within the last year, two new businesses have come to the square - a day spa and a gift shop. Thomas, too, is optimistic about the future of Pilot Point. He's been working on a video about why Pilot Point is the next place to grow because of its location and history.
Delcourt says the only thing he's changing about the station is the type of business it houses. The station had a 2 1/2-foot-wide red stripe in the 1930s, and it will have a 2 1/2-foot-wide red stripe today.
"I want the next generation to see what the previous ones looked like," he said.
Delcourt is well known in Pilot Point for helping reopen the historic 1894 opera house.
Joyce Wood, director of the Pilot Point Community Opera House, said she enjoyed working with Delcourt on the board because he would bring new ideas that were well thought out. He was always upbeat and happy, she said.
"I knew I would never retire young in the restaurant business," Delcourt said. "I wasn't making any money, so I got into the financial market. I sold that, and now I do what I like to do."
"Give me a $5 bill, and I'll feed ya," he said.
Folks will be able to drive up to the station for a hot breakfast burrito.
"When it's cold and windy, you are going to drive by, and I'm going to throw it right out the window, and you are going to take it and go," he said.
Pilot Point is slowly rediscovering its historical self. Delcourt just wants to make sure he can know he contributed to it somehow.
"It's my time to give back to humanity and the state and the town I live in for the wonderful life I have," he said. "I am doing my part by fixing the Magnolia Station. I didn't want them to raze it. I just have to help preserve it for the next generation."
This story was written by a University of North Texas journalism student under the direction of Dawn Cobb, managing editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle, and UNT professor George Getschow.