An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine
January 24, 2011
Press photo from Boise, Idaho May 27, 1956.
The Stinker Cut Rate Gas stations were also known as the Fearless Farris Stations. This one was at 1600 West (?) Front Street. The first of these gasoline stations was opened by Farris Lind in Twin Falls, Idaho in about 1941. He was leased the land for the station by the state of Idaho, which helped to keep his prices down. He called his station “Fearless Farris.” After serving as a flight instructor in the U.S. Navy during WWII, he continued to operate this station and others. His competitors were not happy with his low prices and called him “The Stinker.” Lind quickly adopted the moniker “Fearless Farris’ Stinker Stations.” Although hard to see in this photo, the skunk he used is wearing boxing gloves.
The number of stations quickly expanded, and they could be found in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. Part of the reason for their popularity was the use of many teaser signs placed along the vast stretches of monotonous country highway. With really nothing else to see along these roadways, the black wording on yellow signs were impossible to miss seeing. Although the signs farthest from the stations didn’t have the Stinker name on them, as you drove closer to the stations the name appeared, and eventually the signs became a billboard with the exact location of the station. Some examples of his signs are below.
“Cattle Country – Watch Out For Bum Steers”
“Idaho Skunks Are Not To Be Sniffed At”
“This Area is For the Birds – It’s Fowl Territory”
“State Highway Obstacle Course”
“Quiet Please, Entering Ghost Town”
Word of the stations and advertising campaign spread, and it was also picked up by newspapers and tourists who told others of the Stinker signs they had seen. Lind unfortunately contacted polio in the 1950s, and he was bedridden for most of the rest of his life. He died in 1983, and the Lind family sold the business in 2002. The 1965 Highway Beautification Act caused many of the original advertising signs to be removed, but some are still in place. The Stinker stations are still in business today, and they continue to use the skunk image.
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