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Modern 1930s Firestone Service Center and Five Cent Hamburgers

We have featured a number of photos of Goodyear and BF Goodrich service center franchises in the past, although it is rare to find a surviving image of a Firestone Auto Supply and Service Center. This Firestone franchise was located at 906 Center Street in Marysville, Kansas and the building has survived.

According to the source of the photo, the first Firestone Tire Company operation on this site opened in 1930 and remained in operation until 1936 when a fire destroyed the structure. This picture was taken at some point after this modern and up-to-date replacement building was constructed and the service center reopened in 1938.

Note the independently operated five cent Hamburger shop where you could “BUY EM BY THE SACK” on the left hand side of the image.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

  • A view of the right rear corner of the inside of the Firestone Auto Supply store and the rest rooms.

  • An enlargeable version of the Service Center image – Unrelated post-war photo (below) of a Capital Super Service Ford COE Firestone service truck and a worker changing a tire on a Euclid earth moving machine located in Topeka, Kansas. 

32 responses to “Modern 1930s Firestone Service Center and Five Cent Hamburgers

  1. In the lead photograph, in the lower left corner, parked in front of the hamburger stand, looks like a 1935 STUDEBAKER President Custom Sedan.

    • Too big for a racer…even ones from the brass-era (To compare, Stutz Bearcats had 34″ and some huge touring cars had 36″).
      Compare it with the tires on nearby vehicles or the new ones in the rack.

      At that size I wonder if it isn’t the front wheel off a tractor or off a truck?

  2. Great pictures! Interior picture shows Col. Roscoe Turner, Wilbur Shaw, Billy Arnold, Ray Keech and Fred Frame. All Indy winners except Turner who made fame in Air Racing. Another notable item is the banner about Firestone radios. They sold both automotive and home radios under their name. Big consoles. My first bicycle was a Firestone.

    • Thanks for that, I was trying to figure those out. Above the middle driver is a poster about “heat prostration.” ?? Was that tires, or oneself?

  3. please tell me what’ by the sack ‘refers to .I am in the UK and worried .does it simply mean in a paper bag?

    • There is an old ’50s-style drive in here, their equally old sign says something similar “Buy the bag full”…perhaps a way to remind customers to consider taking several home for the entire family…a novel idea in the days before home delivery.

    • Which lead to Steak ‘n Shake’s famous byline: “Takhomasak” (Just sound it out.) I always thought Takuma Sato missed a brillliant sponsorship opportunity by not simply changing his name to Takoma Sako. So Graham Rahal benefits instead. Personally, I like the Snappy Service sign. “Snappy,” as a laudatory adjective has fallen out of service these days.

  4. I believe the “big wheel” by the sign and by the bay door are tractor tires. This station looks like it dropped into this era from the 60s or 70s ! I had no idea there were such modern looking ones back then ….good “mind food” David, thanks !

  5. First Pic: — At first I thought the apron of the service center was covered with oil (and possibly gas leaks) from the customer’s cars, but looking more closely at it and the hamburger joint, I think it’s the emulsion from the photograph that has discolored.

    The architecture of the center appears much more modern than the surrounding cars, but that’s probably because many service centers of that design still exist today.

    The large PIE sign reminds me of the Geico Gecko commercial where the stoic waitress suddenly bellows PIE to the short order cook. The first time I saw it, I almost jumped out of my chair, now I laugh. Hmmmm…. An ice-cold glass of milk and a slice of pie as advertised on the building WOULD taste pretty good right now. No fancy 5-buck’s coffee, just milk and pie.

  6. That large wheel is definitely for a piece of farm equipment. My father had a manure spreader that had large wire wheels just like that one. The “wire” spokes are actually approximately 1/2-inch metal rods that are welded to the hub and rim.

  7. On the roof over ladies lounge the dealer has a child’s trike and two wagons on display. Something for every member if the family was available. Also the advertising memorabilia visible in the show room probability has collectors salivating.

  8. The ’35 Studebaker driver stopped for a sack full of nickel hamburgers, not only because they were good, but also because he got ‘Snappy Service’. That’s an old expression one rarely hears anymore, someone being told to “…and make it snappy!”

    The Streamline Moderne architecture for franchised automotive sales and service outlets was seen as a way to present a clean, uniform and welcoming environment to build customer loyalty. Remember this was still the era when garages varied greatly in their presentation from clean and professional to grubby and slap-dash.

    • When asked by a restaurant waitress, “What would you like to order?” I jokingly responded, “I’d Like some turtle soup. And make it snappy!” I don’t think she got any of it. She told me they don’t have that on the menu and it took 45 minutes to get our food. Oh well… people are all too serious these days.

  9. David,

    A question. Is it possible to make your lead pictures also the 1st expandable picture ? This may help address the mix-up identifying which picture one is referring to; for example ” the second picture [1st expandable picture],” etc.



      • David,

        Sorry that I didn’t write my question clearly.

        What you did today with your” Early Evening View of Houston Texas Used Car Lots in Kodachrome” is exactly what I hoped you could do for the lead photograph, with a copy of it as an expandable photograph following.



  10. I think that is a 1931 Chevy pickup on the street out front. I own one but can not see with enough detail to be sure. That model pickup was called the Independence model. The factory would use left over parts from the previous year Chevy cars. That may explain the wheels. My pickup has wire wheels but they had a disk wheel option.

    • I suggest the truck is a 1933 Ford . Note gas filler cap to the rear of the fender. Looks like a flat head through the hood louvers. The wheels are not original.

      • If that is a gas filler cap then it would not be a 31 Chevy. The 31 Chevy has the gas tank under the seat. To me it looked like a tail light. One thing that suggested it was a Chevy was the headlight. The correct head light for the 31 Chevy pickup is the 30 Chevy car headlight only painted black.

  11. “Buy ’em by the sack” was a slogan for both White Castle and Royal Castle’s sliders in N.E. Ohio. Good eats !

  12. 8th grade Billings Mt. 1946, we used to head down town at lunch break and purchase hamburgers with our lunch money. !0 cents would get you one, it would have some dill pickle and a little onion on it all the mustard or catsup you wanted were available as you went out the door. We normally had a grease soaked brown paper bag full of them. May have been the basis for my first heart attack!

  13. I should probably know this being a long time viewer of the Old Motor, but if I did the answer escapes me today. Why do many of the gas stations have 3 or sometimes 4 pumps, each appearing to offer a different fuel? If 2 of the choices were regular and Ethyl, what are the other pumps delivering?


  14. Response to FXLEW, There may have been only two grades of fuel available but with the 4 pump set up vehicles could be service on either drive and no waiting if some one on the other drive needed the same fuel as you did.

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