From houses to home appliances, they just don’t make ’em like they used to. Believe it or not, the same adage applies to gas stations, with many of our nation’s unique roadside stop-offs being replaced by modern cookie-cutter designs.
Here’s ten vintage photos of some of Pensacola’s long-gone filling stations:
In 1934, the filling station at 400 East Gadsden Street, on the corner of North Alcaniz Street, switched over to Texaco gasoline and motor oil — with their slogan “Lasts Longer, Crack Proof” — and the station pulled out all the stops to make sure everyone knew it. In the foreground, streetcar tracks are still visible in the brick-paved Alcaniz Street; while Pensacola’s streetcar service ended two years earlier in 1932, the tracks hadn’t yet been pulled up or paved over.
By the following year, however, someone decided it was more important to highlight the station’s Goodrich Tires affiliation. While the Texaco pumps remained, much of the Texaco branding on the building itself was covered up with Goodrich signs, and a new larger illuminated Goodrich marquee sign was erected next to the old Texaco sign on the street. With the Great Depression underway, an A-frame sign advertises a budget payment plan for tires.
This head-on view shows the same station in all its old-school splendor. A Goodrich Silvertown work truck advertises “Red Streak Service,” which guaranteed roadside service from “fast, prompt, and reliable operators.” In the background on the left hand side, the Alcaniz Barber Shop and Alcaniz Body and Fender Shop are visible. It’s not clear when the old station was torn down; a mini warehouse complex was built on the site in 2008.
Across the street on the southeast corner of Alcaniz and Gadsden, the Motor Inn peddled Pan-Am gasoline and Goodyear tires. Parked beside the station is a Motor Inn motorcycle with sidecar.
Sadly, this Motor Inn’s exquisite Spanish-style architecture hasn’t survived to the present, but another Motor Inn location lives on as an auto garage in the city’s Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood.
In this view of the Motor Inn from the Alcaniz Street side, streetcar tracks are again visible, but it looks like the station has switched over to Kelly Tires. Workers and employees stare at photographer Charles Cottrell across the street. In the background on the left, the Brockmann Packing Company can be seen down the street at Gadsden and Davis.
Later on in the 1930s, the Motor Inn switched back to Goodyear, swapping out the Motor Inn sign for a Goodyear one. New pumps have been installed at the station and awnings over the windows removed. The streetcar tracks that once ran down the middle of Alcaniz Street have been pulled up or paved over. The handsome commercial building at right hasn’t survived either; that property is currently vacant land.
The Sherrill Oil Company, on the northeast corner of Garden and Baylen Streets behind the San Carlos Hotel, featured a distinctive art deco design. Seen here in the 1940s, a group of workers poses for the photographer, one of them smoking a cigarette just steps from the gas pump. The station was demolished in the 1960s, replaced by a parking lot for what’s now the Regions Bank Building.
One of Pensacola’s earliest service stations was at Borras Auto Supply, located on the southeast corner of Garden and Spring Streets and seen here in 1921. At that time, the station featured just two pumps, one placed curbside of Spring Street and the other under a small canopy on the Garden Street side. The building is long since gone, but the building next door — featuring a sign for the Hupp Motor Car Company’s Hupmobile — still stands, most recently serving as the headquarters of the Greater Pensacola Chamber. Currently vacant, its fate is uncertain.
A decade and a half later, the same building had become the Mixon Service Station, adding a few more pumps including a curbside one on Garden Street. Seen here in 1937, the price of gas is just 19 cents per gallon. At right, an old post-style street sign marks the intersection of Garden and Spring Streets, and the building at left has been painted white, more closely resembling its modern-day appearance. A two-story office building now occupies the site of the service station.
Seen here in 1930, the Wrightaway Service Station was located on the northeast corner of Baylen and Chase Streets. The station boasted a pair of Silver Flash brand gasoline pumps, and the Wrightaway’s marquee advertises cigars, cigarettes, candy and soda. The station was demolished sometime before 1975 and replaced by — you guessed it — a parking lot. The building behind it, however, survives to the present, currently housing the offices of commercial real estate company NAI Halford.