Brass is Best

Old gas station in downtown Detroit.

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Speaking of old gas stations:

In Edison, NJ, near Metuchen,  an old one bay gas station still stands. It no longer has two pumps but in 1957 it had two and a Chevron sign and was owned by them. It was between leases and the Old Man (my father) had an idea. I was fresh out of high school with no prospects, skills, or ambitions. The Chevron guys had a great pitch. The gasoline sales would pay the rent and everything else was profit. What could go wrong? The Old Man leased the station and put me in charge of the only employee...... Me.

Gas was about 27 cents a gallon and oil about 25 cents a quart. Every morning I walked to the station and every evening, 12 hours later I walked home.

I fixed flats for a $1 using hot patches on the tubes and tire irons and a rubber mallet to mount the tires. A wash job was a buck as was the usual gas sale.

It was HORRIBLE.

I remember a fire extinguisher salesman visited one day. He took one look at me ( 18 years old) and smelled blood. His lurid tales of guys being burned alive for want of an extinguisher was an easy $100. The old man was livid. We lost money that month.

The Chilton repair manual salesman also found me an easy mark, but only for a couple of bucks. Mr. Ira Goodlife, if you are reading this I still have the 1957 Chilton book you sold me with your name stamped on the front leaf. I do still use it by the way.

In due course it was obvious that the Old Man's plans of a gas station empire with his son at the helm was just a pipe dream.

I joined the Navy as a way out and the old man gave back to Chevron the station to lease to the next unsuspecting dupe.

Like most tales this one does have a silver lining.

One day two 15 year old girls walked past the station. One of them was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. A normally shy boy I was nonetheless smitten. I left the office, the pumps, and the grease rack and walked with them.

We've been married now for 57 years.

Thank you, Chevron.

I owe you one.

I don't have any pictures of the old station.

The next time I go to Jersey I'll take one.............................Bob

 

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The town of Wayne Illinois has a gas station that has no gas pumps, a hardware store that’s closed, a post office, a real estate office, a church and the police/city hall. They borrow a fire truck for parades and there are usually more people in the parade than watching it. 

Dave S 

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My Radnor, OH post office is the old gas station. Can't get a gallon of milk, a soda, a gallon of gas - or actually anything in my crossroad town - excepting, of course, a cemetery plot.

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2 hours ago, Brass is Best said:

Here is an old gas station in Detroit. If only it could speak.

detroit1.jpg

there are lots of old stations and banks in Detroit, but most have been substantially altered or painted; thanks for posting; where is it exactly? 

 

good story about meeting your wife, Bob

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Many years ago I had an employee whose girlfriend's Dad had worked for one of the local fuel distributors. For whatever reason he had a box with photographs of every gas station in York County, PA in 1952 or so. Even very obscure 1 pump stations out in the boonies. Try as I might I couldn't get that box away from the girlfriend.

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13 hours ago, Jim Skelly said:

there are lots of old stations and banks in Detroit, but most have been substantially altered or painted; thanks for posting; where is it exactly? 

 

 

The station is downtown at the corner of Brush and Watson. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Detroit,+MI/@42.3467762,-83.0518102,58m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x8824ca0110cb1d75:0x5776864e35b9c4d2!8m2!3d42.331427!4d-83.0457538

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Posted (edited)

Andy, your last picture--of Detroit's grand old train station--

is very interesting.  I read that Ford Motor Company plans

to restore and use that building for its own business.

Have any improvements been made yet?  Such grand potential!

It's a shame that so many Detroit buildings are in shambles.

 

Many planned renovations never occur.  But decades from now,

Detroit may be thriving and beautiful once again, and its

current troubles may be long-forgotten history.

 

train1.jpg.7c40d064fcec2aa68f4602dbe6ce9037.jpg

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

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37 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

Andy, your last picture--of Detroit's grand old train station--

is very interesting.  I read that Ford Motor Company plans

to restore and use that building for its own business.

Have any improvements been made yet?  Such grand potential!

It's a shame that so many Detroit buildings are in shambles.

 

Many planned renovations never occur.  But decades from now,

Detroit may be thriving and beautiful once again, and its

current troubles may be long-forgotten history.

 

train1.jpg.7c40d064fcec2aa68f4602dbe6ce9037.jpg

 

 

John, I took that photo in 2012, last time I was in Detroit fall of 2018 the Train Station had all new windows and was well on its way to being saved. You can find information by googling Detroit Train Station. Glad you enjoyed the photos. Andy

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2 hours ago, Brass is Best said:

Here are a few more Detroit photos.

boston2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Nice photos. It's amazing how you can buy a grand old home like this in Detroit for pennies on the dollar. Last time I was visiting the Henry Food Museum, we drove through areas of Detroit looking at some of the most beautiful old homes, many had for sale signs out front. 7000 or 8000 SQFT mansions in decent condition for under 200k. 3000 to 4000 SQFT homes for under 100k everywhere. The problem? The area is destroyed. If Detroit could only be rebuilt....

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So sad to drive around Detroit and see rows and rows of abandoned and burned out houses that were once beautiful. I read where the City of Detroit was offering houses for as little as one dollar. The purchaser has to renovate the home and live in it, so developers can not come in and buy them all. I would think Detroit would be happy even if they were sold to speculators as long as they were rebuilt. I can't remember exactly, but didn't Walter P. Chryslers home sell for some ridiculously low price.

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19 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

Speaking of old gas stations:

In Edison, NJ, near Metuchen,  an old one bay gas station still stands. It no longer has two pumps but in 1957 it had two and a Chevron sign and was owned by them. It was between leases and the Old Man (my father) had an idea. I was fresh out of high school with no prospects, skills, or ambitions. The Chevron guys had a great pitch. The gasoline sales would pay the rent and everything else was profit. What could go wrong? The Old Man leased the station and put me in charge of the only employee...... Me.

Gas was about 27 cents a gallon and oil about 25 cents a quart. Every morning I walked to the station and every evening, 12 hours later I walked home.

I fixed flats for a $1 using hot patches on the tubes and tire irons and a rubber mallet to mount the tires. A wash job was a buck as was the usual gas sale.

It was HORRIBLE.

I remember a fire extinguisher salesman visited one day. He took one look at me ( 18 years old) and smelled blood. His lurid tales of guys being burned alive for want of an extinguisher was an easy $100. The old man was livid. We lost money that month.

The Chilton repair manual salesman also found me an easy mark, but only for a couple of bucks. Mr. Ira Goodlife, if you are reading this I still have the 1957 Chilton book you sold me with your name stamped on the front leaf. I do still use it by the way.

In due course it was obvious that the Old Man's plans of a gas station empire with his son at the helm was just a pipe dream.

I joined the Navy as a way out and the old man gave back to Chevron the station to lease to the next unsuspecting dupe.

Like most tales this one does have a silver lining.

One day two 15 year old girls walked past the station. One of them was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. A normally shy boy I was nonetheless smitten. I left the office, the pumps, and the grease rack and walked with them.

We've been married now for 57 years.

Thank you, Chevron.

I owe you one.

I don't have any pictures of the old station.

The next time I go to Jersey I'll take one.............................Bob

 

 

Wonderful story, Bob! Thanks for sharing!! 

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I saw this neat old gas station in Jackson, Ohio one rainy day, and tried to take photos so I could share with you all. Ain't it great? 

 

I can't tell what fuel brand it might have represented, based on its color scheme. Any ideas? 

LO Rez 20160324_174227.jpg

LO Rez 20160324_174241.jpg

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On 1/2/2019 at 6:57 PM, Bhigdog said:

I don't have any pictures of the old station.

The next time I go to Jersey I'll take one.............................Bob

I'm right down the road near New Brunswick; I'll shoot a few pics if you want/supply an address.

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8 hours ago, WQ59B said:

I'm right down the road near New Brunswick; I'll shoot a few pics if you want/supply an address.

 

That would be wonderful. As of a year or so ago the building still stood but I cant remember if it still had a bay door.

The closest to an address I can give you is the Metuchen Golf and Country Club, 244 Plainfield Rd, Edison , NJ.

As you drive out of Metuchen, North on Plainfield Rd, the golf course will be on your right. Google Earth shows the gas station being the 5th building on your left after the golf club. The station shares a macadam pad with what is or was a small store.

Really appreciate your interest and sorry if this seems like a post hi-jack.................Bob

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22 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

 

That would be wonderful. As of a year or so ago the building still stood but I cant remember if it still had a bay door.

The closest to an address I can give you is the Metuchen Golf and Country Club, 244 Plainfield Rd, Edison , NJ.

As you drive out of Metuchen, North on Plainfield Rd, the golf course will be on your right. Google Earth shows the gas station being the 5th building on your left after the golf club. The station shares a macadam pad with what is or was a small store.

Really appreciate your interest and sorry if this seems like a post hi-jack.................Bob

 

Bob, I do not think anybody would take this as a post hijack. I think we would all like to see photos of an old gas station! Andy 

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CCCA had its annual meeting just north of Detroit a few years ago, great time but the trip into Detroit to go to the old GM Design studio building for me to give a presentation and see wll the abandon and deteriorating homes was really depressing. Amazing architecture fallen ino ruin and the legacy of the happy times and people who lived in those homes forgotten.

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Just a quick grab off of google maps street view- is this it Bob?
I've passed it about a year ago- was still in business then.

Screen Shot 2019-01-04 at 12.10.21 PM.png

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Yup, that's it. The shingled front roof and sign were added some time later. The two pumps were right in front, one regular and one high test, with room for a car on each side. A tire inflator was just to the right of the bay door and we had a rubber  hose that rang a bell if someone pulled up to the pumps. Usually for a dollar's worth of regular and that came with a wind shield and head lite cleaning. The "office" was the left front corner and driving straight into the bay was an air over hydraulic lift. A second car could be fit behind the office if the lift was down. The bit of yellow building peeking out of the left was where the compressor was and storage.

Thanks for the pix and memories.

This thread brought a lot of them back.

Sorry if I bored you guys......................................Bob

 

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As long as we've moved away from Detroit, I must say this is a tremendously enjoyable thread.  A few years ago we went through a lot of old stations that people submitted and I'm sure that someone will eventually post links to those earlier discussions.  I was so inspired that I did a powerpoint presentation for our AACA Region as well as a local Model A club of old gas stations, using photos of many from our local area.  There were a surprising number of survivors at that time and may still be.  I'll try to dig up some photos, but I know I also have a few from my home town, Battle Creek, Mich.  Meantime, one of our club members, Richard Hall, provided this neat pic of his father's stations in Miami Beach, Fl from about 1930-31.  James was his father and is standing by the Sun Oil pump.  James' brother Bill has on the white overalls.  It's great when family history includes memories like this.

Terry

Richard Hall family gas station.jpg

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Hmmm...I wonder, is it ok to post photos of a really cool OLD Firestone store here? Looks like an antique gas station, style-wise. 

 

I drove past this one the way to a pool tournament, and made a loop back around the block so I could snap a pic or two. It looked really cool to me. 

 

IF this would be considered undesirable "hijacking," let me know, and I'll delete it. 

Firestone store OLD Lo Rez 1.jpg

Firestone store OLD Lo Rez 2.jpg

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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 9:52 AM, Brass is Best said:

thanks for the exact location; I'll have to check it out

 

Detroit is slowly turning around after a sixty year decline.  Much progress has been made since its bankruptcy, and getting a mayor and city council who are willing to work together to solve problems instead of finger pointing or taking payoffs.  

 

The Packard complex (4-story building in the series of pictures) is being restored, but it's an ambitious project in a worn out neighborhood.  The goal is a mixed-use development.  The owner is from Venezuela.  I hope he succeeds.

 

The 1913 Michigan Central Depot is supposed to be completely restored in four years.  I was in it the day before it closed (January 5, 1988).  It was in deplorable condition then.  It's where my Dad left for the Navy and returned at the end of WWII, so I had to go.  It was the only time I had ever been in it. 

 

I believe the mansion belonged to one of the Fisher brothers (Fisher Body).  Most of their mansions have survived, though one was destroyed by fire a while back when it was being worked on.  

 

That Firestone store is just as worthy as the gas stations, in my opinion. 

 

Those old buildings sure have character that is lacking in most buildings today!  

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