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Gas Station Series – Glen’s Service Station Trussville Alabama

Trussville, Alabama, is located about fifteen miles northeast of the city of Birmingham, Alabama. At the time this image of Glenn’s Service Station was taken Trussville was a small town with a population of around twelve-hundred residents.

We presume that the owner of the gas station is posing next to the gasoline pumps. The Sinclair “HC” pump next to him dispensed gasoline that cost 23.4 cents a gallon. The pump on the far-left was for the higher octane “Ethel” fuel blend. The late-1930s Chevrolet sedan on the outside lift was getting a lubrication service at the time.

No garage building is visible in the photo so presumably any repairs were performed outside in the yard. In addition to running the station, Glenn’s also had a coal and coke delivery business, and an employee is visible behind the wheel of a late-1930’s or ’40s Dodge truck visible on the far-right of the lead image.

You can view over two-hundred and fifty other photographs in the Gas Station Series. The image is via contributor Benjamin Ames.

25 responses to “Gas Station Series – Glen’s Service Station Trussville Alabama

  1. The license plate is a 1941 Alabama plate; that’s the only year they started with a single letter off by its lonesome (before 1941, the letter was over or under the year of issue, and from 1942-1954 they started with two numbers). It’s also the last year for weight codes; starting in 1942 they switched to county codes. The C prefix means the vehicle on the lift weighed 2501-3250 pounds.

  2. I can understand an area like Georgia having open-air lifts for car work; CA. had them too. When the weather cooperates 3/4 of the year, it makes sense. Especially an area like this, that stays hot and humid for so long.

  3. While still a very attractive price for gas, the HC gas appears to be 15.9 cents plus 7.1 cents for taxes totaling 23 cents according to the sign on the pump, If I am seeing it correctly. Looks like the Ethyl blend is a about 3 cents more per gallon. I can remember gas war days when I had a motorcycle but no drivers license. This left me walking to the nearby station with a gallon can to carry gas to the cycle. It seems often I found that you couldn’t put a quarters worth of premium in a gallon can! Ah, the good old days.

  4. Interesting that the total for the pumped price of the fuel is actually over 23 cents per gallon according to the sign…pretty high tax rate!!

      • That rough old Dodge delivery/service truck has seen better days! The left front fender has been bashed at least twice and the driver’s running board is bent upward. Old #4 “gets her done” though. Guess Glenn isn’t real handy at truck body work. (“no one wll notice”)

      • I also see atop the three vertical pipes on the side of the building near the outdoor hoist is the hoist control valve. The vertical lever swivels back and forth for lift up or drop down. One pipe delivers air pressure to the underground hydraulic pressure system and the other direction provides “exhaust” air out of the hoist lifting system. You can see a curved pressure line go into the ground at the bottom towards the lift. Very common setup.

        The C-Clamp for inner tube patching is there (photo 1) which held a metal frame plate with the sort of explosive burning surface on top of the rubber patch. I would expect to see the required galvanized open water bath tank very close by as well to check a suspect inner tube for exact location of the air bubbles from the leak hole . “Hot patching” was the common way to vulcanize a rubber patch (band aid) permanently to the leaking tire inner tube. You had to have some matches handy to “ignite the patching plate”. PeeYew, what a stink it would make! And you had to wait to let it cool down before touching it. A more modern rubber cement and liquid rubber “cleaner” system came along in the 1950s that provided superior patching without all the sparks, heat and fire (and breathing that rotten cloud of smoke).

  5. That clamp like fixture attached to the side of the building next to the hoist appears to me to be a setup for doing “hot patch” on punctured inner tubes. As youngster I used one of these quite often when working as various gas stations while in school.

  6. The Coke machine was one of those sliding door types with the bottles running along a set of rails so one could play some games to get the drink you wanted. Chilled water was used to keep the bottles in a bath. Many of them had a drinking fountain installed on the side. Saw a lot of these in the South in the 50’s, early 60’s and one at a station in Texas that we entered at night, had the biggest bull frog I have ever seen comfortably nestled between the machine and the front wall of the station. No wonder, as the nearby lights drew a myriad of insects, a bountiful feast for Froggie!

  7. Trussville is home to quite a few WPA houses, now treasured and protected. The station was likely along US. 11.
    Nice community. Older than B’ham.

  8. This picture inspired me to buy a barrel cart (dolly) yesterday just like the one shown under the car on the hoist. It was at the big car show/swap meet in Jefferson, WI. Iron wheels, quite a bit of original green paint left, fits the two barrels with oil pumps I have. $5. Couldn’t go wrong.

  9. I miss those old Coke machines at the filling stations that I recall as a kid. With a nickle in my pocket, I’d walk a block from home to Hancock’s Standard Station on Main Street in New Castle, Ind., stick in the coin, grab the bottle, turn it upside down to see where the bottle was made, and then pry off the cap in the opener. Guy Hancock always let me hang around to watch him and his co-workers gas up the autos, check the oil and other needs, and then put the amount due on the pads in their back packets if a customer preferred to pay later.

    Fond memories of hanging out in the garage as they worked on cars and letting me get tools for them (or to work on my bicycle).

  10. I’m going to place the Dodge truck as a 39-40 vintage. 41-47 had side cowl lights and the DODGE nameplate on the side of the hood.

  11. As Kurtruk stated it’s a 1939 or 1940 Dodge Truck, with the hood ornament visible and the location of the headlight buckets, changed in 1941.

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