Re: Retail gas stations of the 1950's

jrwark <jrwark@...>

Very timely, albeit possibly off-topic, question. Just a couple of
days ago I went to the state archives and library and yours was one of
the questions I researched.

In addition to Sanborn maps and phone books as already mentioned, I
also found good information in city/town directories. For larger
cities, these are usually published by Polk during the STMFC era. In
Tennessee, there were also directories published by other sources for
smaller cities/large towns. I wasn't able to find info on every town
I was interested in, but I was able to find enough information to
confirm which of the oil companies had wholesale distribution and
retail service station operations in the region.

Another source was centennial and sesquicentennial anniversary
publications. I found these for almost every town or county I was
interested in. These typically have advertisements for local
businesses and photos of business areas. In several cases there were
pictures of service stations and/or bulk plants that will be helpful
in modeling. In at least one case, there was confirmation of a track
routing that confirmed a detail from the Sanborn map that I had been
skeptical of. Unfortunately, no freight car pictures. Bummer.

If you're not close to your state archives, then most libraries have
at least some old phone books and directories. Local/county museums
and historical societies often do as well.

John Wark

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