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Horvitz Motor Sales and a Gulf Gas Station – Penn Avenue Pittsburgh

The left-hand side of today’s feature image dated November 10, 1937, contains a view of Horvitz Motor Sales which was located at 5555 Penn Ave. in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. The right-hand side of the photo contains a Gulf Oil Company filling station on property owned by W. L. Mellon and to its right is the intersection of Penn Ave. and North Negley Ave. The lettering on the side of the Highland Market Chevrolet panel truck at the intersection identifies it as being located at St Clair and Jackson St.

Horvitz Motor Sales apparently handled a few late model cars but the bulk of the inventory which extends behind the Gulf Station contains cars and trucks some of which date back to the late-1920s.  The used car and truck lot has not survived, although a National Tire and Battery service center is located on the site today. The parcel where the Gulf filling station was sited is now a vacant lot. See a street view of this area today.

Share with us what you find of interest in the enlargeable sectional photographs (below) by the Pittsburgh City Photographer courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library.

21 responses to “Horvitz Motor Sales and a Gulf Gas Station – Penn Avenue Pittsburgh

  1. An interesting snapshot in time. Than you David G.
    The detail that caught my eye, is on the ’30/’31 Ford A model sport coupe, with rumble seat. Although commonly seen today on restored model A Fords, it was actually an unusual option. That sport coupe has TWO tail-lamps. In spite of the fact that I spend much more time looking closely at somewhat earlier photographs, I have zoomed in on a few hundred showing model A Fords. I can recall only seeing a few showing backsides of model As and seeing two factory (or dealer authorized) installed tail-lamps. Today? They are almost a necessity. Back then? Not so much.
    I also like the back of the used car lot, slightly earlier cars there. One late ’20s sedan (may have dual spare tires?) desperately needs a new top installed. Next to it is an early Pontiac, or late Oakland (oval rear window).
    Again, a little new for me, but I think that is a Hudson Terraplane next to the Market’s Chevrolet delivery van, which I think is either a ’31 or or more likely a ’32 judging by the wheels (which could have been changed by then?). The commercial vehicles didn’t get the fancier trim that cars did in ’32.

  2. The first illustration showed all the overhead wires at one time. Thank Goodness we don’t do that anymore. Or, at least not to that extent.

  3. This is not a comment, but an offer: a 1941 photo “Good Used Tires.”

    I have many MANY more. If you are interested, please let me know.

  4. On the right hand side there is a open fronted cabinet near the road with what looks like newspapers in it. The guy in front of it looks like he is wearing some sort of work apron. A roadside newspaper stand maybe? Good place for selling papers at the traffic lights.

    • We still had curbside newspaper sellers in Minnesota in the late 60s. My dad would always stop at on late Saturday afternoon to get the Sunday paper. They worked all year round.

      • There are still lots of newspaper sellers in South Florida. They usually occupy the islands between lanes at traffic lights. They’re standing on the driver’s side, increasing the chances of making a sale.

    • I think someone was still selling papers on that corner in the early 70’s when I was going to Nursing school at Shadyside Hospital.

    • Hi Gene, good one, that one had me stumped. I thought a REO, but I believe you are right, a 1936 GMC T18 2 ton. To the left of it looks like a mid 30’s Ford panel.

  5. There still seems to be a utility pole in the same location.
    The large buildings (apartments?) in the background are no longer there.
    The satellite view seems to show that they are wooded m rd now. You’d think in a large city like Pittsburgh, they would have been reused.

    If you travel down Pitt street, a block or so past the tire store there are some new modern condos, but a little was past them are ancient narrow, tall homes. Odd neighborhood to someone from the west.

  6. In the lead picture, on the far left just beyond the “GOOD USED CARS” sign, is a four-door 1936 CHEVROLET, unsure of the model.

  7. My first business in 1989 was a Gulf station at this Penn & Negley location. By then, it was a three bay building constructed in the 60’s crammed onto that tiny lot. It was, at that time, not the best neighborhood. In the eight years I was there, there were six murders within a block. The dealer I took over from, Harry Eldridge, had been with Gulf for 50 years and had decided to retire at the age of 89. It was a definitely a “thrown into the deep end” learning experience for me but, it provided a start in business that continues thirty years later.

  8. The “Back Lot” is of real interest. As teenagers making .25 / .50 per hour we HAD to shop the ‘Back Lots’ to be able to afford any wheels for Saturday Night. As a 16 year old teen in 1954 this was our resort as well as shopping for “Used Tires” which we called ‘Bacon Rinds’ back then. At that time we HAD to do these things, now I WANT to shop the ‘Back Lots’ !

  9. The overhead wires definitely look to be the type that trolleys used. However if you look at the bottom of the photos the tracks do not look used. Could the have switched to the rubber tire electric buses that still ran off of the overhead wires?
    I remember seeing these type of buses in Milwaukee in about 1960.

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