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Sensational Streamline Moderne Postwar Good Gulf Service Station

This Gulf Oil Company service station located in Philadelphia was designed in the Streamline Moderne type of architecture that was popular from the mid-thirties until the fifties here in the US and around the world. The “Good Gulf Nonox” neon sign out in front most likely lit with the Company’s orange and blue colors must have been one of the most creative and attention-getting of its type designed in the period.

Surrounding the gasoline station and in the background is a series of parking lots filled with both pre and post-war automobiles. In the rear center of the photo which is dated 1947 is a sign on the side of a building for “Reliable Motors,” a Pontiac dealer. Tell us what you find of interest in this city scene courtesy of PhillyHistory.

You can view over two-hundred other vintage service stations here in our earlier coverage.


24 responses to “Sensational Streamline Moderne Postwar Good Gulf Service Station

  1. “Tell us what you find….”

    Just another completely useless cold damp winter day in the North East and are the four people standing outside under the ‘NoNox’ sign thinking the same thing ??


  2. There used to be a Ford dealership near me in the 1980’s. The salesmen were not allowed in the showroom unless they had a customer. You would see them standing out in all types of weather. These gas pump jockeys may have had similar rules.

  3. That’s one beautiful gas station!

    I see that there’s a White Castle hamburger joint at the left edge of the photo. That makes me think that the location is North Broad Street, near the Philadelphia City Hall. I found a photo online of a White Castle on North Broad Street with the same brick building in the background .

    • I agree, the scene reminds me of a station my stepdad worked at before I met him. The cross street would be Cherry st.
      I just checked Google Earth to find that The Pennsylvania Convention Center now sits at this site. It covers six square blocks, now Cherry st ends at Broad st on the West side. The building that the photo was shot from still stands.
      Pop worked at quite few different Gulf stations in those days. Gulf oil owned a large percentage of their stations, the attendants were employees of Gulf Oil.
      This was one of their prized locations. It sat only two blocks away from Billy Penn ( City Hall ).

  4. I see myself pumping gas as a teen at a Mobil Oil station in 1950 with chillyfingers and a smile for customers. In those days we had to wash the windows, check the oil and fill the tires rain or shine . Those Buicks and Cadillacs show this must have been an upscale station, and any of those cars would be a prize today.

  5. I don’t suppose any of those guys was thinking about how cool the station is, the Gulf sign, the rare siamese gas pumps, the street lights and the Giant 7-up sign. By the late ’60’s it was probably replaced with generic, style-less blah.

    The signs above the service bays say Washing, Lubrication and Tires. What does the sign on the side above the office say? Looks like CH15.

  6. I don’t recall that 7UP slogan, as I read the “You like it, It likes you” slogan began in 1936. Is that a tire laying in the street, from the gas station perhaps?

  7. No particular reason to assume this to be a damp winter day since there isn’t a single tree or shrub to tip us off. Could just as well be a summer morning after an overnight rain, sun coming up……………………….maybe the guys standing there are talking about last night’s Phillies/Dodgers game having been rained out!

    • Your not from the Northeast? Abundantly obvious a winter day…..the remnants of snow on the sidewalks and in the parking lot…….miserable weather. That’s why Pennsylvanians are amongst the toughest people in the world…sustaining the winter hardens you from the outside in.

        • I got snowed on heavy in mid October once in Rutland and couldn’t get back up the mountain in Killington due to a fallen tree. I decided to drive home to Pa. rear drive only, talk about a white knuckle drive. The roads didn’t get clear till Woodstock N.Y. Perseverance, (young and dumb) another trait of Pennsylvanians.

          • By the way David, always enjoy your blog. I’ve been around cars all my life and never get to enjoy them if that makes sense. Friends ask me if I work on cars on my free time……I ask them if they do plumbing or engineering on their free time. They usually give a slow answer like, aaaah no. I tell my wife when I retire I want to work on cars…………..she thinks I’m nuts! I’m sure you understand.

  8. I was searching for imported cars but don’t see any. In the middle distance just to the right of the 7up sign, here’s a convertible with a continental kit which looks unusual among the stodgy sedans. And there’s a woody wagon of some sort parked behind the station.

  9. Like Howard, I don’t recall that 7-Up slogan. The cars here are difficult to nail down, although I think I see a Hudson at the rear right of the station. The woodie may be a new Willys wagon. In front of the office door appears to be a Pontiac torpedo, while at right of it is a Packard Clipper.

  10. The convertible under the 7 UP looks like a 46-48 Ford (or Merc). I had 2 ’46 conv. and the fender lines are very familiar since I repainted both of them.

  11. I worked at a Gulf station in 1950 on Sunday’s and a Shell station on Saturday s,
    We had station uniform s , I still have my shell station cap and shirt, (they don,t fit anymore . They were full service and I got 50 cent tip for my grease job.
    The good old days.
    Dale Watson

  12. Love the neon sign and the 7up sign. I don’t know who dreamed up the idea of putting street lights in the median strip, but with todays much longer trucks they would be knocked over in no time. (I drive truck)

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