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Colaw’s Standard Service Station, Route 66 Carthage, Missouri

Colaw’s Standard Service Station was located on Route 66 in Carthage, Missouri. This mid-1950s promotional photo, taken by Carl Taylor shows that it was a very busy gasoline station at the time.

The operation offered: 24-hour service, two Ford service trucks, “Budget Terms,” sold Atlas tires, and had four men manning two gas pump islands when the image was taken. To the far left of the station was a Hudson dealer that either went under or would be by 1957. To the far right was Gales Package Store offering “Cold Beer” and a “Chicken Basket.” More detail can be seen in the two enlargeable images below.

The building may have survived with some modernization and in recent times has been a United Muffler shop. You can view over 150 more vintage gasoline stations here. The image is via Vintage Service Stations.

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18 responses to “Colaw’s Standard Service Station, Route 66 Carthage, Missouri

  1. An early Tbird is at the pumps.

    Straight front bumper makes it a 1955 or a 1956, the front license plate bracket could determine it, but I can’t make it out. The porthole narrows it to a 1956 Tbird assuming no parts swapping had been done.

  2. The Lawman… what is he holding in his hands? You folks with bigger moniters than me, would you check it out? It looks like a three barrel gun.

  3. Is that a Hudson dealer ? Or is Hudson ‘ s the name of the drive-in next door ? Judging by the architecture and the root beer sign , I think it’s a drive-in .

  4. I think I’m going to cry. Clearly, I was born too late. I would have fit right in with this scene. 3 things the attendants are doing. Pumping gas, cleaning windows, checking oil, all of which are almost extinct. I remember that saying , “My advice, sir, get De-Icer”. Water in the fuel was big deal back then, and I think everyone here, in colder climates, have experienced “gas line freeze”. Not sure what the LEO is carrying, but he sure is checking out the picture taker. ( try that today) The Ford pickup, that the older guy (owner?) is unloading tires, I think is a ’55, which would make it the “new” truck, and the older one on the side. (early ’50’s?) I don’t think that’s a Hudson car dealer, as most of the vertical Hudson signs I’ve seen, have that diamond shape at the top. Adding oil to a new ’56 Olds already? And I think it’s a little odd, the gas tanker is pulled up to the drive-in. Wonderful picture of days gone by. Like I say, this appears to be ’56. I was born in ’55, and just missed this era. I’ve always regretted that.

    • That gas tanker is more likely a home heating oil delivery truck. Home heating oil and #2 diesel are essentially the same thing except for the road taxes. In the 50’s most all oil refineries carried home heating oil as coal was loosing favor for heating and natural gas furnaces were not widely accepted.

    • The Hudson sign is for another gas station. I grew up in Carthage and worked in another station across town. I used to have to drive in to find out what everyone was posting for prices as “Gas Wars” were happening a lot back then.

  5. We stopped at many a place like that, especially after we got our ’56 Chevy. Traveled Route 66 every other year, hitting may of these stations at night, a bevy of new sights and sounds and smells for a 7-year old.

  6. Howard, I didn’t miss it, and would go back to those days in a blinding instant. Individuality, optimism, all the things we can’t seem to muster any more. I was 16 in 1955 with a brand new driver’s license and brightly colored cars everywhere (even if I could not afford them).

  7. I keep looking at this photo and cannot help but wonder if perhaps the officer is wearing gloves and that is what we are seeing, at least in part.

  8. That definitely is the same building. Look at the arrangement of windows on the side. They modified the roof a bit and added a third stall it appears. But it’s the original building.

  9. Am a little late with my comments, but only recently discovered this site. Think that Dennis M. is on track in regards to Colaw’s. In the middle 80’s I was a rep for one of the wholesale RV parts suppliers in No. Indiana. Colaw’s was one of our customers as at that point they were selling RVs (In a converted gas station location). In those days there were lots and lots of RV dealers. Just up the road was a large Holiday Rambler dealer (owned by Colaw in-law and it was dog-eat-dog competition) so it would seem logical that Colaw’s would evolve into that kind of operation. As a long-time “car nut” this site is amazing to me. Thanks for all the hard work and please keep up the good work. My 2c worth.

  10. This is so great to see. The owner and his wife were good friends of my mom and dad. I just typed in the last name and 1950’s and this popped up. Really great to see this photo. I was trying to find out information on the owner’s childern.

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