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Gas Station Series: 72 St. Service & Save Tacoma, Washington

Today’s feature image is a view of the 72 St. Service & Save filling station located in Tacoma, Washington. The promotional photo dated May 5, 1951, appears to have been taken at the station on opening day by new management of the facility. Another picture of the operation exists showing five men who were manning the gas pumps that day.

The station apparently was owned by the Time Oil Co. which operated a refinery located on the industrial tide flats in the City on Marshall Avenue. Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library.

View over two-hundred and fifty other images in the Gasoline Station Series here.

14 responses to “Gas Station Series: 72 St. Service & Save Tacoma, Washington

  1. The 1950 Ford and the ’49-’50 Chevy on the right are the newest cars in the photo. Those oil cans on display disappeared when the self service stations appeared. It was so tempting for customers to toss a couple in their cars while pumping gas.

  2. I’m curious about the bare bulbs on top of the pumps. Are there supposed to be advertising globes that haven’t been installed yet?

    • Notice the lack of outdoor lighting? That is what those babies provided! Betcha they put on a real display when too many fumes gathered around those bare bulbs!

  3. I “think” the Chevrolet by the three men is a ’49. That based upon the hubcap and I “think” I can see one of the grill teeth that the ’49 had but the ’50 did not. The fast-back Chevrolets always catch my eye because I had a ’52 two-door fast back when I was much younger. The car behind it (with the visor) appears to be a ’50 (not a toothy grill). Can’t see a lot of details on that car. It could actually be a ’51, but with the little bit I can see of the grill and fender trim (through the I think Chrysler product’s rear windows), I would surmise it to be a ’50 model.

    This is more how I remember the 1950s. Several late model cars, most cars about three to five years old (late ’40s), and still three late ’30s cars clearly in the background. We drove my dad’s pre-war ’41 Chevrolet as primary transportation until 1959.

    Again, David G, THANK YOU for the look back!

    • Yes, dark center of hubcap suggests it was red, ’49 Chevy, while the same cap for ’50 was yellow in the center. Loving these early fifties photos.

  4. New postwar housing in the background, if it’s still there, like Levittown NY, where I had my first house after marrying, the trees are back, second stories added, or little houses demolished altogether to put up bigger houses almost to the property line.

  5. Looks like some new construction going on across the street, (top right of the picture) there are foundations in the ground and piles of lumber for framing on the property as well. Some lumber on what might be the next property on the street just out of the picture

  6. The 1949-50 Chevrolet in the foreground is the seldom seen Fleetline Special 4-door sedan. My impression is that is a 1949, partly due to the wear that’s obvious. The “Special” series was Chevrolet’s base model and was almost devoid of chrome. Even the windshield and rear window moldings were black rubber.

    The car in the lower right hand corner is a 1946-1948 Dodge. These Dodges had a third brake light on the trunk lid, a feature not adopted by other manufacturers until 1985.

    Working toward the station, in the second row are a 1941 Ford with a 1947 Chevrolet in line behind it. The third row is a 1948 Chevrolet with a 1950 Ford in line behind it.

    At the pumps in the rear the dark colored car on the left is a 1937-38 Chevrolet, the lighter colored one is a 1939 Chevrolet. The car which is partly hidden behind the station is about a 1938 model but I can’t tell what make.

    As usual for that era, the oldest cars in the photo are about twelve or thirteen years old. That would be equivalent today to a 2005 to 2006 model. Today a 50-year old (1968) car on the road is not even noticed except by a car enthusiast.

    Let’s look at it in context. In 1950 the last Model T Ford, a 1927 model would have been 23 years old — equivalent to a 1995 model today. I was already an old car nut in 1950 and can tell you that I know of no Model T’s or any other 1927 cars in daily use by 1950 in my area. There were a few older heavy trucks in use, some Model A’s and a 1928 Chrysler. I purchased the 1928 Chrysler a few years later when the original owner gave up on keeping it going. Wish I still had it.

    I like the old ones as a hobby, but there’s nothing like a modern car when you want to go somewhere.


    • I tend to notice this as well. I regularly spot three-box design cars from the late eighties still in daily use, and a fair number of 240’s, both Volvo and Mercedes. Part of it is the breakthroughs in engineering that happened between 1927 and 1950 — it’s hard to have a daily driver with two forward gears, 20 horsepower, and a top cruising speed of 40. But part of it is that they just last longer nowadays.

    • Just a note on the trunk mounted center stop light; All Nash models used them from 42-48. The main difference from the “modern” arrangement is that ONLY the center light lit under braking as opposed to all 3 on modern cars.

    • I was struck by the apparent deterioration of the paint on the cars that are only two-three yeas old. Paint technology has come a long wasy.

  7. These are all low-end models (the Dodge may be slightly higher placed), and not a single white whall tyre in sight. I dig the four-door fleetline fastback Chevy: stylish, cheap yet relatively rare and devoid of all unnecessary brightwork, and therefore simply beautiful!

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