This 1940s road map was handed out by the Mobilinn Cafe and Curios located at the intersection of highways U.S. 60, 66 and 87 in Amarillo, Texas. Mobil Oil’s Flying Red Horse was a common sight along the highways of old.
Archive for the ‘Gas Stations’ category
Shamrock, Tex. is located on the eastern side of the Texas panhandle. This flat landscape is punctuated by several towns that catered to Route 66 travelers. Shamrock offered the gamut of roadside services. Gas stations were sprinkled along the highway through town, including the well-known Tower Conoco. This Art Deco masterpiece sits at the corner of U.S. 66 and U.S. 83, which guaranteed brisk business. Today, the station has been restored and is a must photo-op along the highway. Another of the photos shows the Dixie Restaurant, topped with a huge chicken. Sadly, the sign is gone. This selection of photos, most from the late 1950s or early 1960s, show U.S. 66 in and around Shamrock. Looks kinda quiet, doesn’t it?
There are plenty of beautiful road maps. But this 1929 example from Shell would be on many folks Top 10 list. Almost 80 years old, this relic shows a bountiful landscape filled with the optimism of people on the move. And who wouldn’t want to stop at that crackerbox-style gas station? This map heralded in a decade of gorgeous map covers, which will be displayed here in the coming months.
One of the great things about old road maps are the depictions of the service station attendants. They gleefully hand out the latest map or wave goodbye. Smiles and impeccable dress are a must. It doesn’t matter that these guys have been changing tires and oil all day. Here are two examples of how oil companies put their best mug forward. The staff, here at Historic Highways, will continue to showcase the allure of 20th century roadside graphic design. Watch this space for more. Oh, the Missouri map is from the 1950s and the California map from the 1940s.
Drive the Meridian Highway from Winnipeg, Canada all the way south past Monterrey, Mexico. This classic guidebook, from 1931, does a fantastic job of selling travel along U.S. Highway 81. Pages of this guide are filled with romantic illustrations and descriptions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The road was 1,851 miles long from Winnipeg to the Mexican border. Along the way, motorists could choose from a small number of cafes and tourist camps. In fact, traditional downtown hotels were still the place to stay for many.
One of the advertisements in the guide, that caught our eyes here at Historic Highways, was a pitch for the Old Dutch Mill. These windmill-shaped gas stations were sprinkled around Kansas. The 1930s were a great time for crazy roadside architecture and this string of service stations followed suit. The ad also mentions the Swallow, which was an early tourist camp along the Meridian Highway. It was found in Salina, Kansas.
Used almost like a diary, this little gas station booklet details a 1949 road trip along portions of Route 66. Mrs. Fillotson began her journey from Kansas City in a 1941 Ford. She left on July 8 driving U.S. 54 west through Kansas. On July 10, she pulled onto the Mother Road at Tucumcari and continued west. A quick stop at Clines Corners, where she spent 75 cents on souvenirs, was followed by a stay in Albuquerque. Dinner at the Court Cafe cost $2.35. The Aztec Court was $6.12 for a night. On July 12, she ate at Pete’s Cafe ($1.89) in Gallup, N.M. and stayed at the La Posada Court ($7.00). At Winslow, Ariz., she boarded a train for the trip to Los Angeles. In L.A., she stayed at the Figueroa Hotel and ate at Clifton’s. On July 17, she arrived back in Winslow. She stayed another night at the Aztec Court in Albuquerque before heading north to Santa Fe, Taos and finally Kansas City. One of the most interesting parts of her record-keeping is the list of souvenirs purchased. She bought postcards, a Mexican mug and rings for herself, father and mother. In addition, at Acoma Pueblo she acquired a jug, vase and bowl. Total cost for the three pieces of pottery: $1.75.
If you pulled into your local Sinclair station in 1958, chances are the attendant would have offered you this calendar. Sinclair was just one of several oil companies that handed out a plethora of great-looking graphic design. Each month of this calendar was illustrated with a simple photo and a reminder of your auto’s needs. If it’s December, remember cold-weather care. In the summer, stop in for a map to your vacation destination. And throughout the year use Sinclair Power-X, the Super Fuel. This particular calendar was handed out by Lew the Car Wash King. He had a station on the corner of 39th and Broadway in Kansas City, Mo.
This sparkling little booklet was handed out by Standard gas stations in 1936. It is filled with fantastical descriptions of western scenes and cities. Here is a description of Southern California: Huge, astonishingly varied – what a place to play! Deserts with their tonic sunshine. Miles of orange and date groves. Foamy breakers on semi-tropical beaches. Stroll the gay boulevards of cosmopolitan Los Angeles…Marvel over the farms where lions, alligators, even butterflies are raised. Sound good?
Here’s a handsome Standard station from the same booklet. Watched over by a grove of eucalyptus, the attendants service the autos. Look at the car on the far right, could it be a Dust Bowl refugee?