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Vintage Gasoline Stations in Hollywood and New England

Today we have a pair of gasoline station images taken by well-known photographers that worked for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression and the Office of War information during World War II, photo documenting scenes around the country.

Russell Lee took the lead image one evening in April of 1942 of Mark C, Bloome’s gasoline station and tire store in Hollywood, CA. The business sold fuel by both Macmillan and Conoco, Goodrich tires, and Kendall and Quaker State motor oils. Note the deluxe pump with a merchandising cabinet on the gas pump island the far-right of the photo.

Earlier in February of 1936 Arthur Rothstein took the image below in the City of Fitchburg, MA, a manufacturing and industrial center at the time. The United Co-Operative filling station was a small operation which sold Gulf Gasoline, Firestone tires and had only one service bay.

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

Gasoline filling station new england model a fords circa 1930


18 responses to “Vintage Gasoline Stations in Hollywood and New England

    • The Kendall slogan, The 2,000 Mile Oil, with the two fingers confused me as a kid. My Dad explained that it meant you could go 2,000 miles without changing oil if you used Kendall. I don’t know how that played in the 1950s but considering that the recommendation for my Model A is to change oil every 500 miles, I can see where this was, at one time, a major breakthrough.

  1. And addition of a second bay had been added before I worked for the Co-op.
    While I was there the open lube pin was filled in and replaced with a hydraulic lift.
    During those 5 years the price of gas had gone from 17¢ to 29 ¢.

  2. I think I see a 1942 Pontiac Chieftan (?) behind the pump in picture #1, and a 1929 Model A coupe in #2. Having been a gas pump jockey once I love these old pictures.

    • Doesn’t the Model A look more like a Cabriolet? It also looks like all 4 cars visible are Model A too. The hidden one could be a wagon.

  3. The Pontiac (?) in the 1st shot looks really well optioned and the lights of the station so big and bright…. I wasn’t around then, but this is exactly opposite of the way I have been told things were. It was already after Pearl Harbor, so I thought things would have been much more “subdued”… ???? Great photos, as always though !

  4. Both of these photos brought back some memories! In high school I used to drive to the next town to the Apollo dealer for the cheapest gas around at $0.25 per gallon. Looked just like photo number one. I could have bought gas close to home but it was a Shell dealer at $0.33 per gallon and came with a free drinking glass. Had too many glasses at the time because my mom liked full service.

    On a road trip to South Dakota I pulled into a station that looked exactly like station number 2. Sign said self serve. So I filled up. Waited around to pay. Peered through the office windows to find it covered shoulder deep in soda pop! Since the station was beside a freeway well north of Salt Lake City and the only building on the frontage road I figured it had to be a life time supply! If it wasn’t for the clang of a tire change deep in the back of the service bay I would have drove off. The man in the back look pretty annoyed as I tried to pay for my purchase. He lectured me about expecting too much curb service and something about “you people from California…” I’m guessing he didn’t understand much about my 1978 Toyota pickup either.

  5. The car at the pumps in Hollywood looks like it could be either a Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan or a Pontiac with the same body type . The paint scheme with the “B” pillar that matches neither the roof nor the lower front of the body doesn’t look like one that was original. Couldn’t find any images on the internet for either Chevrolets or Pontiacs of that era with the paint contrasts that show up in the photo. Of course, since the location is Hollywood a custom paint job seems very possible.

  6. That really looks like Neon City in that first photo! I think it would have been taken about the time gas rationing started; it was not immediate after Pearl Harbor.

    That second photo with the little station and the snow is cold just to look at. You can almost visualize a small wood, coal or coal oil stove in the little office….

  7. Mark C. Bloome was a well known name in SoCal. Young Mark immigrated from Canada to start his first station. He expanded through the use of glassware premiums and young lady attendants on roller skates. But, by the time I was old enough to drive, it was Mrk C. Bloome equals Goodrich Tires. Still around as a brand, but now owned by Michelin I think.

  8. Did anyone else prowl the gas stations after closing and lift the hoses and open the trigger on the handle to get the gas left in the hoses? That actually got us home one night.

  9. United Farmer’s Co-Op, based in Fitchburg, dealt in bulk milk, fuel oil for home heating, coal and other commodities. The ruins of what appears to be a grain/feed elevator complex can still be seen in west Fitchburg. United Farmer’s milk was one of the major brands in the Boston market, until the late 60’s.

    • There were two United Co-ops in Fitchburg. The United Farmer’s Co-op only dealt with grain & feed. The United
      Co-operative Society had a Super Market , Dairy with home delivery, Fuel oil & coal delivery, and the pictured Gas Station.

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