Gallery

Gasoline Gallery

chunkys

This 1928 photograph shows the White Eagle gas station located at 301 Missouri Street in Alma, Kansas. Seen here are Ronald Faulke (left), operator of the station and Elmer Ringel, station employee. The station was owned by the Degenhardt family for a half-century. Photo courtesy Dr. and Mrs. Larry Ringel.

Before the development of the convenience store and the concept of self-service gasoline pumps, there were thousands of small gas stations across Kansas that pumped fuel, washed the customer’s windows, checked the oil, repaired tires, sold sandwiches and soda pop, and provided a venue for local men to loaf.

Architecturally, the stations were often tiny with large canopies which extended over the gas pumps. Often there would be an attached garage or bay which allowed a mechanic to work on vehicles.

Also known as filling stations, historically gas stations were either “company brands” which were either owned by a national company and their franchisees, or “independents” which sold a cheaper, “no-name” brand of fuel.

quality

Jack Ginder built this gas station located three miles north of Alma on old Highway 40 in the late 1940s. Ginder owned numerous Quality Oil stations across Kansas. This station was razed when Interstate 70 was constructed, and a new Quality Oil station was built a quarter of a mile south on Kansas Highway 99. Jim Lewis operated both stations for over 30 years. Photo courtesy Linda Coon.

From the 1920s through the 1960s gas stations thrived along the state roads and in town. It was not unusual for even small towns to have two or even three operating gas stations.  Like the small-town grocer, small rural gas station operators faced higher fuel costs than those in the city because of higher transportation costs. As small town residents began to commute to the city to work, many began purchasing their fuel in the city, taking advantage of the lower prices.

While there was a time when the gas station was the most common business in small-town America, now they have virtually disappeared.

Click on any of the images below to view all photos in a gallery format.

2 replies »

  1. If a person lives, works and drives in America, the he will always need a gas station. The old Sinclair stations with three pumps moved away and new Chevrons with eight pumps moved in.

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