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Gas Station Series: Three Filling Stations in Tacoma Washington

Three filling station images are featured here today, and all of them were located in the City of Tacoma, Washington. The lead photo taken in November of 1948 shows Charlie Walker’s “Flying A” Associated gasoline station that was located at 5525 Pacific Avenue in the City.

This example of a filling station with a unique rounded end canopy was designed by Earl Lumm in the style of the Streamline Moderne buildings displayed the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed in 1934 along with an open-fronted two-bay maintenance garage equipped with a lift located on the left-hand side of the station.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photographs by the Richards Studio courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library.

  • This M&M Service facility selling Chevron fuel and lubricants at 6647 South Tacoma Way was built in 1925, and photographed on November 8, 1948. 

  • This postwar Ford and owner received plenty of attention from the nine attendants at Marty’s Shell Service grand opening at 6th and Mason Avenues.

19 responses to “Gas Station Series: Three Filling Stations in Tacoma Washington

  1. I happen to be a huge art deco-mid-century modern nut, and really like the Flying A station!! (sigh) Gone are the days of true style in structures like these! They look esp. nice at night with neon outlining the rounded overhang!

    • On the Euroroute from Calais through Belgium on to The Netherlands there are some truly spectacular filling stations.The y are at night works of art. Indeed throughout Europe there is a healthy style war.

  2. The first picture shows a poster to “Win a Football!” Some contest. I just checked and Amazon is selling a Wilson MVP football for $13.95.

    • But if you want the official NFL football (aka The Duke) it will cost you $99.99. The official football of the Indoor Football League (made by Baden) is about $25 but if you go to a game and one falls into your lap, it’s free.

  3. In the lead photograph is a 1946 FORD Tudor Sedan, with added bumper guards to the corners.

    In the 3rd picture is a 1946 FORD Fordor Sedan Super DeLuxe.

    • 1946 was definitely a seller’s year for cars and dealers loaded them up with as many dubiously needed accessories as they could, knowing that, no matter how expensive the cars became, someone would be sure to buy them. Perhaps that’s why the Tudor has the bumper guards, fog lamps, a spotlight and a windshield visor. Probably seat covers and a wheel spinner, too, maybe even a heater. Surprising that no radio antenna seems present.

      • I recall in 1946 that Bumpers were an optional accessory on the Lincolns and Nashes, and maybe other cars as remember. Talk about padding the invoice…

  4. Unfortunately for me I’ve never heard of this fellow Earl Lumm. Worse yet, can’t find anything on the web about him. His use of curves is very pleasing to the eye. Note the gas pumps even have nicely proportioned, rounded tops.

    • The wrecker has the “85” hp badge on the hood sides. As the radiator became more clogged, these would run hot, and many owners took the sides off for better cooling, and often lost. To a truck driver in 1939, a V8 was a welcome improvement. I believe this truck was the 1st year for juice brakes too. The wrecker body looks like an early Holmes( 515?). Also, in the background, is, what looks like a one-ton WD Dodge pickup service truck.

      • I have a 1939 Ford half ton pickup. It was used last as a push truck at a Standard Oil station. It was painted orange and white with the standard oil torch emblem on the door. I have done a body off restoration on it and it is now nearly restored to original Ford condition. I have a flathead 59A engine in it. 1939 was the first year Ford used hydraulic brakes. It was also the last year for the floor shift transmission in Ford passenger cars. These trucks are now considered “ugly” my most early V8 Ford collectors. I do see more of them being restored or mechanically restored and back on the road lately. I have also seen lots of era photographs of these trucks doing work.

  5. Thanks for posting! The Tacoma Public Library site has given me hours of fun looking at photos of dealerships, diners, service stations etc. My Grandmother lived in nearby Puyallup so I had visited Tacoma some in the 60’s .

    • Pennsylvania crude oil is referred to as ‘sweet’ because it is low in sulfur. Specialty refiners still use it to make lubricants for high performance engines. It is available under such brands as PennGrade and Brad Penn.

  6. The car under the left-hand canopy at the M & M Service looks to be a 1936 or ’37 Studebaker sedan.

    Oil companies advertised “100% Pennsylvania Crude” as supposedly superior to other sources, though by the 1940’s that supply was diminishing rapidly. Grades of crude oil make a difference in the way its refined, affect the commodity price but the end product qualities are brought to SAE standards regardless of source.

  7. I don’t know if the bumpers were actually accessories. After the war, there was a shortage of steel and the bumpers would follow when the steel supply improved.

    • There was not a shortage of vets happy to be servicing cars instead of other GM products like Sherman tanks!

  8. I remember back in the 50s a Standard Station in Long Beach California. It was a company training station – 5 or 6 white uniformed attendants would be all pour all over your car, even whisk-brooming out the interior.

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