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Goodyear Tires and Standard Oil: Sacramento, California

Today’s image takes us to Sacramento, California during the winter of 1939 to the intersection of L Street and Route 24 (16th Street) for a view of this conbined Goodyear tire store and Standard Oil gasoline station. We have seen other similar Goodyear and Standard Oil of California facilities in the past in our Vintage Service Stations Series, so it appears the two Companies worked together during this period.

Of interest in the photo is a Harley-Davidson Servi-Cycle outfitted for roadside tire service with a combination rear bumper and tire rack fitted behind the cargo box. It also appears that Goodyear might have been trying to sell off early large diameter tires at the time as some of them can be seen in stacks in the enlargeable image below to the right the gasoline pump island.

Tell us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the Sacramento Public Library.

25 responses to “Goodyear Tires and Standard Oil: Sacramento, California

  1. There is a sign for “CHAINS” in the window on the far right of the lead photograph. Couldn’t enlarge the picture to ascertain if this sign were for car chains. Sacramento doesn’t see much snow.

    • No, Sacramento doesn’t get much snow. However, then and now, it is the last major city for most of the entire central valley and Northern coastal parts of the state heading up the Lincoln Highway (now Interstate 80) going East. When it is snowing in the Sierra Mountains, tire chains around here are big business. In the winter, if one does not already have a set of chains, (and in the car), and it is threatening to snow? Smart people buy their chains in Sacramento if not before. About thirty miles up the road? the cost of chains basically doubles. Depending on the snow levels? Another ten or twenty miles beyond that and the price of a set of chains may double again! (Four times, and sometimes more, than the price one might pay in Sacramento..) The Donner/Truckee area and highway 50 by South Lake Tahoe are basically the only places to go East across the Sierras . Both head up the hill from Sacramento. The nearest Southern crossing is over 200 miles to the South, while the nearest decent Northern crossings are several hundred miles North in Oregon.
      Historically, in the first half of the 1800s, Sacrament exists because it was the first good place to put a city for businesses to great people travelling across the country to start a new life in the West. When you reached Sacramento, you had made it!. And today, when one needs to travel East from here? Sacramento is where the real “fun” begins.

      • Wayne, I live in the Sierras and use Fredonyer Pass on HWY 36 at 5,748 ft. It is approx. 75 miles North of
        Donner Pass. It is part of the Noble Pioneer Trail and has been in use for at least 150 years. Mr. Fredonyer was a professional who was too familiar with a 15 year old girl and escaped during his trial never to be seen again. You also have Hwy 70, the Feather River Rte. which uses Beckwourth Pass at 5,228 ft. James Beckwourth was black, probably started life as a slave, but became a prominent frontiersman who discovered the pass in 1850. These two passes pale in comparison to I80’s importance, but at times when Donner is closed, may be the only ways to bypass it.
        Sacramento got it’s start because of its access to the Sacramento River and the riverboats that would take you to San Francisco 80 miles to the west before trains came on the scene..
        There is snow on the ground and we have seen 8 degrees F this week in “sunny California”.

  2. There goes the neighborhood! What sort of zoning regulations, if any, were in effect back then? Imagine being the occupants of the big house behind the gas station before and after it showed up on the corner lot next door.

    • Funny thing: it seems Nancy Reagan felt pretty much the same way about thirty years later, when she refused to live in the Governor’s Mansion at 16th & H, just seven blocks north along the Lincoln Highway, because the highway carried too much truck traffic. Sacramento was a Gold Rush frontier town which grew up with businesses located where their owners already possessed or could purchase land. I miss it. These days Downtown is a mess of concrete corridors, one-way streets and pro sports boondoggles.

  3. Cheaper to buy ’em in Sacramento than, say, Placerville. Snowstorms on Hwy. 50 are measured in feet, not inches, when you’re headed East toward Carson City or Northeast toward Reno

  4. Interesting that at the same intersection is a retail store for “Big O Tires”, across the street from the “Firestone Public House”. So, you can still get tires and gas at the same place as 80 years ago.

  5. Obviously shot by a professional photographer, likely with a 4×5 camera, which would have had swing and tilt adjustments to keep the vertical lines vertical…

  6. I’m pretty sure the company pickup is a ’37 (?) Dodge or Plymouth, with extended push front bumper. Tow trucks were still a ways off, and places like this, if the Servicar couldn’t fix it, or the pickup couldn’t push it in, they probably didn’t deal with it. What’s in the square boxes by the tires stacks? I hauled (and unloaded) a lot of tires, and never saw them come in a box.

  7. A few features ago , for the first time in years some thing prompted me to post here at OM, my memory of what was obviously a Harley Servi-Cycle, and here, David, you found a foto of one… BTW, if my memory serves me well, the time I noted it was at Chrysler- Plymouth dealership in St. Petersburg, FL… in abt 1968. Amazing, haven’t seen one since. Are they still around?

    • I believe Harley had the “servicar” available with the same 3 speed transmission and flathead 45 cu in V twin designed in the 30’s until 1973! That powertrain was used in the WLA motorcycles put in service during WWII. While underpowered and slow, they could sit and idle forever without overheating. An overbuilt very reliable package.

    • The WLA, (W=Newest engine, L=High Compression, A=Army with Canadian version being a C), especially the 42, was built in huge numbers during the war and became ‘civilized’ after WWII. Young returning troops wanted to ride and most of the survivors were made into choppers, etc. Over 30,000 were sent to the USSR and without the young returning troops hot on riding and hence no real ‘chopper’ culture, many of them have become the source of WLA parts (or lovingly restored in Russai)!

  8. Yes, the ram hood ornament can be seen on the Dodge service truck. The other pickup in the photo, from what little can be seen, I’m going to say is probably an International, based on cab shape and rear window shape. Missing it’s rear bumper.

  9. I’m in the sign business, so I noticed that they should call their sign company and put another screw in the dangling “C” in the “Goodyear Service” sign

  10. Wayne S. made an excellent observation about Sacramento’s proximity to the Donner Pass! He also made the correct observation about the Exponential (Non-Linear!) “Chains” price increase between Sacramento & Truckee! This, of course , includes the variables of “Winter-time — but: The High Sierra Mountains can: ” Make a (dead) Victim/Fool of you, — If you don’t carry Chains and Survival Gear”on Board “, especially if you are a frequent or occasional Traveler of Both: The Sierra Passes and High Altitude Areas on the Eastern Side, including: Way over into Nevada!!! (A Spanish word for: Snowy!!!) Many of the Higher Passes are Closed until later in “Summer”. Example: The beautiful Tioga Pass. The “Top & Eastern side” Summer Storms must (also)be regarded as potentially dangerous to your survival ! The Donner Pass, a big road in comparison to: Most other (Sierras) Pass Roads— also has its dangers! Don’t buy” bargain Chain Sets”. Get the best and: “Practice in Good weather” (in your driveway!) May you never have to “Hang Iron ! But: “Be prepared “! ( Boy Scout Motto!) (They didn’t call it: “The Donner Party”” for nothing! Chains in Sacramento ? Oh, Hell -Yes!!! (Especially if you like Reno, Nevada !!! ) IF you think I’m “overkill ” on this subject — also: “be prepared” to have a day in Court with the C.H.P. ! Edwin W.

  11. The Harley Davison “Servi -Cycle” doesn’t appear to have a Tow -Rig on its Front Fork, thus, its duties are limited to tire – change service , battery jumping, out of gas, and other quickie road services in the local areas. These machines are un-stable in the hands of someone who doesn’t realize that they have to: Hang On and Not let go — at low speeds due to (inherent) fork- wobble ! it is a machine that Steers and doesn’t: “Counter – steer” like a bike or Motorcycle (without Sidecar). Safe speeds for these are: City streets — due to its ability to tip— in the wrong hands of an inexperienced Trike rider. Today’s “2 wheels forward” are more stable, in general. Edwin W.

  12. I think the partially hidden pickup is indeed an International. Rear bumpers were an extra cost accessory in those days so most pickups came without them. I sold tire chains for many years on the West coast and Sacramento was one of my best sales areas. One customer used to purchase 2 truckloads of just truck chains.. Everything going North on I-5 and East on 80 had to have chains on the truck so the CHP could see them. Ah, the good old days.

  13. That Harley Davidson Servi-Cycle morphed into a policeman’s motor cycle in the 1950’s if I’m not mistaken. They had the same type of rig on the back that could be used as an all-purpose transportation thing. Probably throw a couple of shotguns, ammo, rescue equipment, etc. in the carrier. There is one on display in our history center here in Fort Wayne, IN. Also, I recognized my dad’s old 1936 sedan in the entrance to a service bay. Only his was a Tudor flat-back sedan.

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