Early Los Angeles Gas Stations

 
(1930s)++# – Two men are seen posing in front of an early model car at a gas station.  Writing on photo reads:  Malcolm Nelson Station, 112th St & Vermont Ave.  Note the gas prices:  9¢ and 11¢ per gallon!  

 

Historical Notes

As automobile sales increased, the demand for fuel led to a more systematic way of delivering it, and in 1914 Standard Oil of California opened a chain of 34 homogeneous stations along the West Coast. Major oil companies moved quickly to secure their own gas dealers, made possible by technical advances in gasoline pumps. Soon pumps were being installed not only at the new service stations, but in front of hardware stores, feed companies, livery stables, and a variety of other retailers.

Super service stations were important elaborations of the original filling stations. Introduced in Los Angeles prior to World War I, super service stations combined operations that had been handled separately. Before that time, a motorist went one place for gas and oil, and other places for lubrication and cleaning, for repairs, or for tires and other accessories. Combining these activities was convenient for consumers and opened up new marketing possibilities for those interested in taking advantage of the boom in automobiles. The earliest known super service station—Service Town—was built in 1914, three miles from downtown Los Angeles. Several of these stations were constructed in southern California in the early 1920s and soon spread across the country.**

 

 

 

 
(1928)^ - View of service station with gas pumps on either side located at 1800 1/2 Long Beach Boulevard, South Gate. The signs advertise General Gasoline, Richfield Gasoline, Gilmore Gasoline, Hood Tires, United States Tires and Pennzoil. On the right, an attendant is climbing a ladder.  

 

Historical Notes

Architect Robert Venturi has called the gas station one of the world's first examples of a "decorated shed." A decorated shed is the opposite of a building designed to look beautiful, such as a cathedral. It is a building with this main architectural purpose: to be a backdrop for a sign that advertises what is sold inside. On any commercial strip, signs are what first catch the eye, not usually the design of the buildings.^*

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^^ - The Gilmore Gas Station was one of the first gas stations in Los Angeles. Located at the corner of La Brea and Wilshire Blvd.  

 

Historical Notes

Today, you can find a replica of a gas station modeled after a 1936 era Gilmore Gas Station at Farmers Market. The 1936 replica and the one shown above are very similar. The station was put in place when the Grove Shopping Center was constructed adjacent to Farmers Market in 2002.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1923)**^ – View showing Sam Drucker in front of his service station at Annandale Boulevard and Rockdale Avenue in Los Angeles. Signs appear throughout including: Gilmore Gasoline, Aristo (Union Oil of California), as well as the Firestone and Diamond Tires.  

 

Historical Notes

Annandale Boulevard is now part of N. Figueroa Boulevard.

 

 

 

 
(1920s)^ - The Oil Well service station shaped like an oil derrick, next to a palm tree and a two-story apartment building in Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s and 1930s, as the automobile was becoming the default way to get around the Southland, buildings and structures in the area became more unique. These “hey-you-can’t miss-me!” buildings (referred to as Novelty or Programmatic Architecture) were made to pull automobile drivers right off the road.

Click HERE to see more examples of Programmatic Architecture.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1927)^*^# – View showing cars lined up at the El Patio Auto Laundry and Gas Station, located at the rear of 260 S. Vermont Avenue. The large building with the ornate towers on the left is the El Patio Ballroom (later the Rainbow Gardens).  

 

Historical Notes

Some writers have claimed that this is the first car wash ever built, but not sure if this is correct.  The El Patio, owned by B.K. Gillespie, may have been the most influential of the early car washes, and Gillespie is credited with coming up with the super service station concept.

By 1928, Gillespie and other investors began opening a chain of super centers under the Gillespie Automobile Laundry System name which included a gas station. One of these early backers was Will Hays, a cleaner of motion picture content.^*^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)^ - Service station on north Vermont Avenue shows three automobiles parked next to the gas pumps as two attendants fill them up with "filtered gasoline". Other services such as polishing and simonizing are offered at this station, possibly named "Ventura Gasoline".  

 

 

 

 
(1920s)**^* – View showing a Pan Gas Service Station where an attendant is seen filling an oil can and posing for the camera.  

 

 

 

 
(1928)^ - A customer gets full service at the gas pumps at Muller Bros. Service Station at 6380 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

The Muller Brothers Service Station was located on the south side of Sunset Boulevard on 4 acres, where the Cinerama Dome Theatre is now located. Opened in 1920 by the Muller brothers, Walter and Frank, this became the largest service station in the world (including a large automobile supply center), employing 120 people by 1937. Celebrities, from Rudolph Valentino to Clark Gable, came by regularly to get gas or just work on their cars. In 1963 the site was sold for the Cinerama Dome Theater, and, at that time, an eventual hotel.

 

 

 
(1938)**^ - View of what appears to be a 1937 Cadillac LaSalle Opera Coupe being attended to in "full service" at the Muller Brothers Service Station at 6380 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  

 

 

 

 
(1928)^^ – View showing an attendant topping off the oil at a Standard Station on the corner of Adams & Vermont as a woman behind the wheel looks on.  

 

Historical Notes

Gas Stations used to be called service stations ... they would rush to your car, check the water and oil, put air in your tires, wash your windows, and pump your gas.

 

 

 

 
(1929)^^ – Richfield Service Station at 7786 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood. Note the pedestal-mounted racecar on the right.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)^^ - Close-up view showing the pumps at the Richfield Service Station located on the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Ogden Avenue in West Hollywood. Today, a parking lot occupies this space.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^^ - Four gasoline pumps stand below a large covering which reads "Richfield Service Station, Richfield Oil Company". Between the gasoline pumps a man in a lightly-colored uniform can be seen in the doorway of the shop which stands behind the station with the label "Open day and night". A second man in an identical uniform tends to an automobile on the right.  Address over the door reads “3651”.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1929)^^ – View showing a Gilmore Gas Station selling Blu-Green Gasoline.  

Historical Notes

The clear glass globes at the top of gas pumps allowed the color of the gasoline to be seen. E.B. Gilmore jumped on this unique opportunity to become the first oil company to market its gas by its color. Blu-Green and Red Lion Gas fueled the cars and imaginations of West Coasters from the ’20s to the early ’40s. ***

 

 

 

 
(1930)^^ - Shell Station at Exposition Boulevard and South Vermont Avenue.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*^ - M. Costa Texaco gas station at 23513 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills. The Eastside Lunchroom is visible at left in background.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)*^ – View showing the Oak Garage and Gas Station with Frank Cooper standing in the doorway.  In the background is the famous Calabasas "Hanging Tree".    

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^*^# – View of a Standard Oil Station located on the corner of Beverly and La Brea. Pope and Burton Architects occupy part of the building behind the station.  

 

Historical Notes

The above photo is undated, but possibly late 1920s to early 1930s, since Pope and Burton Architects didn't open their Los Angeles office until 1927.

 

 

 

 
(1931)^^ – View showing the Liberty Gas Station located in Southern California. Sign in lower-left reads:  Open All Night.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - One of the first gas stations on a lot on Imperial St., Los Angeles, shown in the 1930's. It was the workplace for a group of men from the Mexican American Community.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)#^*^ – Close-up view of the Chatsworth Service Station located on the west side of Topanga south of Devonshire.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)^^ – View showing a 4-pump Signal Service Station in Glendale, California.  Large signs reads  Auto Laundry – Signal Purr-Pull  

 

 

 

 
(1932)^^ – View showing a Packard at a Gilmore Station, Southern California.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)^^ - Filling car with 'Volatile Vapor' at a Union gas station on Wilshire Boulevard with streamers from pump to sky.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)^ – A Texaco service kiosk stands at left as part of the Mandarin Market, a Chinese-style drive-in market located at 1234-1248 Vine Street, in Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

Architect Henry L. Gogerty designed the 1929 Mandarin Market, a Chinese-style drive-in market located at 1234-1248 Vine Street, in Hollywood. The complex included a Texaco service kiosk, the Mandarin Bakery, a full meat and produce market, and a restaurant. This building later became the Hollywood Ranch Market and was demolished after a fire in 1981 for a 1984 mini mall.^

 

 

 
(1930)^ - The Hollywood-Vine Service Station and Parking Garage, with free parking provided for nearby establishments, including Pig 'n Whistle, Dyas Restaurant, and Hertz car rentals. Not only did attendants service the customer's car and park it, they also took their laundry for dry-cleaning.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - Close-up view of the cashier for the Hollywood-Vine Service Station and Parking Garage.  This resembles today’s all-in-one gas stations and mini-markets.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)**^* – View showing the Richfield Market and Service Station located at 6th & Rampart, Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

Between the mid-1910s to the early 1940s, Los Angeles was the principal center for the development of drive-in markets, many of which had gas stations.

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^*# - Street view showing the gas station at the Sunset Clock Drive-up Market, located on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive (one block east of La Cienega Boulevard).  

 

 

 

 
(1931)^^ – Attendant pumping gas at a Signal Purr-Pull service station with Art Deco tower, located in Beverly Hills.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^ - View of Specification Motor Oil System Service Station on the southwest corner of Washington and 8th (?).  

 

Historical Notes

Apparently the "Specification Motoroil System" was a national chain that did not last too long (no records).

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)**^* - Closer View of the Art Deco designed Specification System Service Station on Washington Blvd.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)**^* – View of the Art-Deco style Sherman Oaks Service Station located at 15362 Ventura Blvd, southeast corner of Ventura Blvd. and Sherman Oaks Ave.  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^^ – View showing a General Petroleum Corporation Violet Ray Gas Station on North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - View showing the Umbrella Super Service Station (Violet Ray) and its many services, located at 830 S. La Brea Ave.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^*^# - The Umbrella Service Station, General Petroleum Gas on La Brea Ave. By 1946, the gas station was gone and a retail strip center was built on the site.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)**^ - 'Full Service' at Union Oil Compnay service station.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)^^ – Night view of what appears to be the grand opening of a Union Station.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)#* - A Union Service Station cyclist to the rescue at 4004 Wilshire Blvd.  

 

 

 

 
(1932)^^ - Close-up view showing pumps at Union Oil station located at South Wilton Place and Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^^ – View showing the Texaco Service Station with a Moorish-style roof, located across the street from the Cole House and later the I. Magnin store, southeast corner of Wilshire and New Hampshire Avenue. Note the Green T Café on the left.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)**^* - View showing the CALPET Service Station after change of ownership (see previous photo).  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)^^ – View showing the mosque-like Calmos Union 76 Service Station complete with three domes and two minarets located on the S/E corner of North Alexandria Ave and Hollywood Blvd. Note the tracks on Hollywood Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Although the gas station has been razed to make room for a strip mall, the two minarets seen above are still standing today.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1924)**^* – View looking southeast showing the Calmos Auto Service Station as seen from Alexandria Avenue.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – View showing the West-Way Super Service Station located at on the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Harold Way in Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

This gas station, located at 1535 N. Western Avenue, was initially run by the partnership of John A. Jordan and Milton E. Jaeckel. They previously were operating two gas stations at 5873 Hollywood Boulevard and 1353 N. Western Avenue. They opened this facility either in 1931 or 1932. The West-Way Super Service Station went out of business by sometime in 1936. ^^*

 

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ - Two attendants provide full service on a 1932 Ford V-8, five window coupe at the pump of the West-Way Super Service Station at 1535 N. Western Avenue.  

 

Historical Notes

Three different types of gasoline where sold at the facility: Signal Ethyl Purr Pull, which was dyed purple, Signal Regular, and low-priced Signal Peerless that sold for ten gallons for a dollar. ^^*

 

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ - Close-up view showing the four pumps at the West-Way Super Service Station, dispensing three grades of Signal fuel.  

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ - View showing a Standard gas station on the 8300 block of Sunset Boulevard with the Sunset Tower Apartments in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^^ - View showing a Service Station located at 6th Street and Westmoreland Avenue, Los Angeles.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)**^ – View showing the Hancock Oil Gas Station located at 837 North Pacific Avenue in San Pedro. It was owned by Ray Johnson and George Story. The car on the rack (1930 Buick) is a City of Los Angeles Fire Department vehicle and has the number 1527 on the door. The Homeport (?) Cafe is seen in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

The two-story service station and office was demolished at in 1966.  Today, J & J Body Shop exists where the service station once stood.  Click HERE to see contemporary view.

HANCOCK Oil Company was headquartered in Los Angeles. In the 1850’s, lawyer Henry Hancock helped the Rocha family establish their legal claim to Rancho La Brea, but they ended up owing him so much in fees that they gave him part of the rancho in payment. In 1860 Hancock and his brother bought the rest of the rancho. Hancock began to sell asphalt produced from the famous tar pits that gave the rancho its name. This was the beginning of the Hancock Oil Company. In 1885 Hancock’s widow leased part of the rancho to eastern oil men who went bust by 1888. But in 1902, Mrs. Hancock leased part of the rancho to the Salt Lake Oil Company, which proved a great success. Henry Hancock’s son, George A. Hancock, who had learned the oil business working for Salt Lake, established his own company in 1906. By February 1907, he had over 70 wells producing nearly 300 barrels a day, making the Hancocks one of California’s wealthiest families. The Hancock family built Hancock Park, a large upscale apartment community. The Hancock Oil Company was sold to Signal Oil in 1958. The 1965 Signal was sold to Humble, and both the Hancock and Signal brands vanished.*

 

 

 

 
(1931)^^ – View of the Pellissier Square Garage located at 828 South Western Avenue, offering three grades of gasoline:  Standard, Standard Ethyl, and Pellissier Quality.   Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

 

 

 
(1932)#* - Street view of the Pyroil Service Station at 1070 East Walnut. An automobile with a spare wheel cover advertising for Pyroil is being refueled at one of the three pumps in front of the building. Signs and banners advertise for "Pyroil the wonder gas".  

 

Historical Notes

The Pyroil brand is a trademarked name for a line of automotive chemicals offered today by the Ashland Oil Company. But in 1932, it was also a brand of gasoline that was being heavily promoted.

The roadster looks like a 29 Chrysler Series 75.

1070 E. Walnut in Pasadena is still there and today is an automobile repair shop. #^#

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – View showing a Union Oil Service Station located on the corner of 8th Street and Western Avenue with 17¢ gasoline.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – Close-up view of the same Union Service Station Avenue showing an attendant servicing a car while another is in an open bay with sign overhead reading:  “Stop-Wear” Lubrication Service.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – Union 76 Station at 1802 Montana Street in Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)^ - View showing Howe's Service Station selling Richfield Ethyl Supreme High Compression Gasoline, located at 7456 Melrose Avenue.  

 

Historical Notes

Howe’s newspaper ad reads:  HOWE’S “AT THE SIGN OF THE INDIAN”  (Leon D. Howe)  Complete  Motor Service, 7456 Melrose Ave, at Vista St., Tel Oregon 1145. **^

 

 

 
(1930)**^ – View showing the sign in front of Howe’s Service Station located on the southwest corner of Melrose Avenue and Vista Street.   

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – View showing a Service Station located at the Adohr Creamery at 1801 La Cienega Blvd.  

 

Historical Notes

Merritt Adamson established a dairy business in the San Fernando Valley, in Tarzana, known as Adohr Farms, the name representing his wife's name spelled backwards. The business became one of the country's largest dairies, operating one of the largest herds of Guernsey cows in the world.*^^

 

 

 
(1930s)^ - View of Westwood Village with four tall sign towers in a row, behind the parked cars. Each tower is used to advertise a different gas station, right to left: Standard, 76, Associated, and Richfield.  

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ - View showing the grand opening of the Union 76 Service Station located at the southeast corner of Westwood Boulevard and Lindbrook Drive in the Westwood Village.  

 

 

 

 
(1933)^^ – Close-up view showing an attendant filling up a gas tank at a Union Oil Company Station at 1160 Westwood Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1933)**^* – View showing the Richfield Oil Station located at 1215 Westwood Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(1934)#* – View showing the Lone Palm Gas Station in Long Beach, serving Sunset Gasoline.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)#* – Night view showing Charles L. Brown’s "Brownie's Day & Night" Service Station located at 3126 E. Florence Avenue, Huntington Park.  

 

 

 

 
(1935)*^#^ – Night view of the Gilmore Service Station located at 7870 Beverly Boulevard, one block east of Fairfax Avenue. Note the lion on top of the illuminated Gilmore sign.  

 

Historical Notes

The Gilmore family is a longtime Los Angeles institution, having acquired the Rancho La Brea in the mid 19th century. In the early 20th century, oil discoveries on Gilmore land brought about a new fortune in petroleum. The Gilmore family went on to establish Farmers Market, which was built alongside the original Gilmore Adobe. They also established the Gilmore Bank, built Gilmore Field for the Hollywood Stars, a minor league baseball team, and also sponsored midget race cars on a small race track. Both the field and the racetrack were later replaced by CBS Television City.

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^^ – Close-up view showing a Gilmore Service Station with its six pumps.  A small store can be seen in the background at center, while a tall tower with the word "Gilmore" on its side and a lion on the top rises from the roof. The station is shown at night and is brightly lit, especially around the edges of the roof and on the tower.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)#** – View showing the defunct Gilmore Service Station at 6800 Willoughby Ave. and 853-859 N. Highland Ave.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1935, this Art Deco gas station was designed by R.J. Kadow, and was one of the original service stations for the Gilmore Oil Company. The station remained with the company until its merger with Mobile Oil in the 1940's. It was later leased by Texaco. ^*^

On March 23, 1992, the above service station became Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 508.

 

 

 
(2015)*^^ - Gilmore Gasoline Service Station, 859 North Highland Ave. LAHCM #508, view from north. Became a Starbuck's a couple of months before this picture was taken.  

 

 

 

 
(1935)^^ – View looking at the northeast corner of W. Adams Street and Hoover Avenue showing a Union 76 Service Station surrounded by palm trees and ornate streetlamp posts. Click HERE to see more Early Los Angeles Streetlights.   

 

 

 

 
(1935)***# – View showing three cars being serviced by three attendants at a Standard Service Station located on the northeast corner of Wislhire Boulevard and Coronado Street, 2525 Wilshire Boulevard.  Note the ivy-covered mansion behind the station.  View is looking northeast.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 
(1935)+# – A '35 Ford Tudor gets full service at a Standard Oil Service Station.  

 

 

 

 
(1935)^^ - Attendant topping off radiator at a Signal Oil Service Station.  The Bella Napoli Café at 711 N. Vermont is seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1935)^^ - Close-up view showing an attendant adding oil to an early model car at a Signal Oil Service Station.  Note how the engine hood folds up.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^ - View of the Royal Albatross, an airplane used as a service station, located on the eastern vertex of a narrow strip of land bordered by Ventura Boulevard (south), Ventura Place (north, seen here, foreground) and Laurel Canyon Boulevard (west). Gasoline pumps are set up under the wing spans.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1935)+#+ – View looking east on Wilshire Boulevard at Cochran Avenue.  An airplane (Fokker F-32) seems to be parked on the corner lot. Sign on the wings reads: BOB'S AIRMAIL SERVICE  

 

Historical Notes

This is Bob's airmail service gas station, which stood at 5453 Wilshire Blvd, at the corner of Cochran Ave. The plane is a 32-passenger Fokker F-32, which was a white elephant of an aircraft that never really worked right. They were probably going cheap so that when in 1934, Bob Spenser got the idea to build a Mobil gas station around one, Fokker probably said, “Here! Take it!” It sure must have been eye catching because in 1934, Bob's Air Mail Service Station sold more Mobiloil and Mobilgas products than any other dealer on the West Coast. +#+

 

 

 

 
(1936)***^ - You could gas up your car beneath the wings of a grounded airplane at Bob’s Air Mail Service Station on the n/w corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Cochran Ave. in 1936.  

 

Historical Notes

Bob’s Air Mail Service utilized the twin-prop airplane to top its station, with the wings serving as canopies to shade its General Petroleum pumps. The plane was one of two Fokker F-32 aircraft operated by Western Air Express, circa 1930-31. The four engine F-32 was a design failure due to overheating of the two pusher engines and was only briefly in commercial service.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)+# – Night view showing a man standing in between a Fokker F-32 aircraft with spinning propellers and the gas pumps at Bob's Airmail Service at 5453 Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Click HERE to see more of the Fokker F-32 in Aviation in Early Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)**^ - Bob's Airmail Service Station on Wilshire. It almost appears as if the plane's propellers are moving. The aircraft's wing serves as a canopy over the gas pumps. In the background can be seen the Wilshire Tower Building with the name Desmonds just visible on the top.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1936)#* – Close-up view showing an attendant checking the tire pressure as a woman looks on at Bob’s Airmail Service Station on Wilshire Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1937)^ - View of the Standard Stations, Inc. service station in Huntington Beach. A large oil field is seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1941)^ - Postcard view shows gas prices advertised at the service station. 8 Gallons for $1 with full service!  

 

 

 

 
(1942)^ - "Check your air, mister?" Nina Meloni, manager of the Victory Girls' gas station, and Verda Curtis, putting air in tires, work at the modern service station at 8th and Alvarado Streets, during World War II. Photo date: May 14, 1942.  

 

 

 

 
(1940)^^ – View looking northeast showing an Associated “Flying A” Service Station located on the S/W corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards in Beverly Hills.  Across the street in the distance (right-center) can be seen the iconic Beverly Hills Electric Color Fountain. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

Historical Notes

Associated Oil Company was an American oil and gas company once headquartered in San Francisco and served much of the Pacific West Coast, including Hawaii, as well as the Orient and merged with the Tidewater Oil Company in 1938.*^^

 

 

 

 
(1940)^^ – Closer view showing the pumps at the "Flying A" Associated service station with Cafe in background, corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica.  Gas prices: 15¢ - 17¢ - 20¢ per-gallon. Note the signal bell hose in the foreground. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^^# – View showing an Associated Oil Company gas station whose premium gasoline was sold under the Flying-A brand.  Taking a cue from drive-in restaurants, the building has a flying-saucer awning and glowing centerpiece for added height and visibility.  

 

 

 
(1942)+# – View showing the Mark C. Bloome Service Station located at 6210 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  This service station was on the S/W corner of Sunset and El Centro Avenue, just about opposite the Hollywood Palladium. The Earl Carroll Theatre is just to the right (west) of the station.  

 

Historical Notes

Mark C. Bloome immigrated to Southern California from Canada in 1924 and parlayed a 15-cent-a-gallon Richfield gasoline station into one of the nation's largest chain of tire stores.  He survived the Depression years by offering glassware giveaways and other free premiums at his expanding chain of stations and at one point even had women on roller skates speeding among the pumps dispensing gasoline.

By the 1950s, Bloome's stations numbered an even dozen and they were selling a broad range of tires from nearly all manufacturers. Customers were waiting in air-conditioned rooms while their cars were being serviced in giant bays a few feet away, a system that was a forerunner of the modern tire store.

In 1972, the family sold the business to Petrolane Inc. and Bloome retired. In 1986, Goodyear purchased it. *^*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1942)#* - View showing an attendant cleaning a windshield at a Union 76 Station (Gribble Service Station, Monterey Park).  

 

Historical Notes

Gas Stations used to be called service stations ... they would rush to your car, check the water and oil, put air in your tires, wash your windows, and pump your gas.

 

 

 

 
(1949)*++ – View showing Union 76 Service Station located on the corner of San Pasqual Street and S. Lake Avenue in Pasadena. Bullock’s Department Store is seen in the background on the left.  The building was designed by architect Raymond Loewy.  Photo by Julius Shulman  

 

 

 

 
(1943)*# – Life Magazine cover photo showing Gilmore Self-Service Station where you could save 5¢ per gallon by filling the tank yourself. View is looking east on Beverly Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

E. B. Gilmore appears to have invented the self-serve gas station. He created a “gas-a-teria” not far from Farmers Market where customers saved 5 cents per gallon by filling their own tanks. Those who preferred to have their gas pumped by “professionals” at the gas-a-teria got unusual service for a period of time when young ladies on roller skates would glide to the pumps to gas the cars up.^**^

 

 

 
(1948)*^^* - Night view showing Gilmore Self-Service Station located on the south side of Beverly Boulevard east of Fairfax Avenue. View is looking west toward Fairfax. The Fairfax Theatre sign (northwest corner of Fairfax and Beverly) is seen above and behind the Gilmore sign. The tower sign for Herbert's Drive-In Restaurant (southeast corner of Fairfax and Beverly) can barely be made out in the upper left of photo. CBS Television City would be built at this corner in 1952.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)**** - A woman pumping fuel at the Gilmore ‘Self-Service’ Gas Station (one of the nation's first) near Fairfax and Beverly. Gilmore Field, the home of the Los Angeles Stars minor league team, is visible in the background. Note also the woman's two Dalmations at attention in the car.  

 

 

 

 
(1954)#* – View showing the Wilco Gas and Sieberling Tire Store with gas at 26¢ per gallon.  Photo by Joseph Fadler (SCE).  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)***# - View showing the Sears Gas Station at Boyle Ave and Olympic Blvd with the Art Deco Tower of the old Boyle Heights Sears building in hte background.  

 

Historical Notes

In 2004, the Boyle Heights Sears building was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 788 (Click HERE to see complete listing). It was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 21, 2006 - #05001407.

 

 

 

 
(2012)**^ - View showing Jack Colker’s 76 Station located on the southwest corner of 'Little' Santa Monica Blvd. and N. Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills.   

 

Historical Notes

The Union 76 gas station was designed by architect Gin Wong of Pereira and Associates and completed in 1965. The design came earlier, though, and was meant for a very different location: in 1960, Wong designed the building to be part of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Its futuristic style was meant to complement the famous Theme Building. But since it didn’t work out with the airport’s plan, this amazing building ended up as a gas station in Beverly Hills.^^^

 

 

 

 
(2012)**^ - Jack Crocker's 76 Station is hard to miss with its red boomerang-shaped roof.  

 

Historical Notes

Most gas stations have a canopy, but only this one has a hugely swooping, curved canopy reminiscent of a giant parabolic spaceship.

The canopy perches above the nondescript rectangular building containing snacks and a cashier station, spreads out over the pumps, and lifts its angled corners to the sky. It is anchored by two large supports that descend to earth at the pumps.

The edges of the roof are decorated with a frieze of simple squares, and its underside is illuminated by long rows of shimmering fluorescent lights that follow the curve above.^^^

 

 

 

 
(2015)** – Close-up view of Jack Colker’s 76 Station located at 427 N. Crescent Drive in Beverly HIlls.  Photo by Allison Martino  

 

Historical Notes

The iconic, curved roof of the Jack Colker Union gas station makes it a landmark along the Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills.

 

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Early LA Buildings and City Views

 

 

History of Water and Electricity in Los Angeles

 

 

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References and Credits

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

^^ USC Digital Library

*^ Oviatt Library Digital Archives

^* History of the Gas Station: woip.blogspot.com

*# StrangeOldPictures.com

#* Huntington Digital Library Archive

+# Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

#* Just A Car Guy

** LA Magazine: Jack Colker's 76 Station

++# Facebook.com: Photos of Los Angeles

#** Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

^^#LA Curbed

#^# Pyroil - The Wonder Gas: theoldmotor.com

+#+Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels

*** Gilmore Station History

^*^ Gilmore Gasoline Filing Station

*^* LA Times: Mark C. Bloome

**^ Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Bob's Airmail Service Station; Anandale-Rockdale Station; Muller Bros. Service Station; Howe's Service Station; Jack Cocker 76 Station

*^^ Wikipedia

^^^ Los Angeles Conservancy: Union 76 Station

*++ Getty Research Institute

^^* The Old Motor

**^*California State Library Image Archive

****Pinterest.com: Gilmore Self-Service Gas Station

***^Pomona Public Library Digital Archive: Bob's Airmail Service Station

***#Pinterest: Art Deco - Sears Building; Standard Station

*^^*Pinterest.com: Bertrand Lacheze

*^#^Huntington Digital Library Archive

^**^FarmersMarketla.com

^*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

#^*^Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

 

 

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