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Gasoline Station Series: Four Tampa Filling Station Images

Today’s feature photos all originate from the City of Tampa, Florida, and were taken between the years of 1936 to ’53. The lead image and the picture below were both taken at Boyd’s Sunoco service station in January of 1936.

The owner of the filling station apparently also operated Boyd’s “Free Zoo” and used his animals for publicity photos. The lead image contains a Monkey pumping gas, possibly with Boyd beside him. In the picture below, taken after a successful day of fishing the same man is sitting and posing with the largest fish next to the gas pump on the far right.

Share with us what you find of interest in the enlargeable photographs below by Robinson and French courtesy of the University of South Florida at Tampa. View over 250 other facilities posted earlier in the Gasoline Station Series. 

  • Boyd’s Sunoco filling station and Zoo boat, January 1936.

  • The Broadway Shell service station and open air Mohawk tire shop 1940.

  • A second view of the Elkes Pontiac filling station and tire shop 1953 that we looked at earlier.

23 responses to “Gasoline Station Series: Four Tampa Filling Station Images

  1. In the last photo of Elkes Pontiac, I can just catch the very rear corner of a `53 model on the show floor to the far left.

  2. 1935 Oldsmobile sedan in the first picture and same car with the boat trailer attached in the second picture. Trailer seems to have Model T Ford wheels.

  3. Ok, it’s picky, but that’s a chimpanzee, not a monkey. Just sayin’.
    Great pics. The last one looks to be a long exposure. You can see a lit interior and the lights out front. Probably kinda pricey promo shot.
    Always enjoy these, David

    • Paul,

      You hit the nail on the head. In the 4th photograph some of the pennants are out of focus indicating the photograph was a time exposure shot.


      • Yes, obviously shot by a pro. Sharp (indicating large negative, perhaps 4×5), and the neon lighting stands out (shot at dusk), probably on a tripod. Shutter speed was maybe one-half to one second, allowing enough depth of field to keep everything in focus. Like old-time mechanics, old-time photographers knew what they were doing.

  4. In the last picture, at the pump, I see a 1937 Chrysler product, probably a Plymouth. The car in the top picture with the flatback trump looks like a 1935/36 GM product, but the winged badge on the trunk might mean Chrysler. Can’t read the hubcap.

  5. Q: Who is the more intelligent?

    1. The monkey pumping gas.
    2. The man standing next to the pump with a cigar.

    • WADR, I think I’d point out here that one of the notable features of a cigar is that it does not need to be lit to be enjoyed by the true cigar enthusiast. I think my dad chewed more cigars to death than he smoked. I’m sure connoisseurs of those multi-mega-dollar Cubans would be horrified but it was probably no loss with the average El Producto, La Palina or VanDyck. Plus it provided a wealth of cigar boxes for the accumulation of treasures, trinkets, spare parts and just…. “stuff.”

    • Late to the party again… I think it’s Boyd’s own vehicle a ’36 Cadillac sheer back sedan , and did anyone notice the lighted Chief Pontiac on the sedan delivery… they were the real “1st” mobile ads darting about the cities, towns… very smart. Someons’ job every day keep it crisp, fresh and shiny!

  6. I went to a fire training class that was associated with my work in the petroleum industry, and there was a demonstration with an open top can of gasoline and a lit cigarette. The lesson was that a cigarette would not ignite gasoline, and the fellow with the smoke tossed it into the gasoline, where it went out.
    But still not something I would recommend.

  7. Florida has a history of tourist attractions featuring animals.
    Almost always:

    3 Monkeys
    They were probably easy to rent one.
    The local dog track use to attach monkeys dressed as jockeys to Greyhounds using special little saddles and then race them for promotions.
    Then theres the Circus and Carnival headquarters in Gibtown and Venice for even more animals.

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