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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Good Gulf Gas, phone 262

Good Gulf Gas, phone 262

Grand opening of my father's Gulf Gas station in Gulfport, Ms, circa 1955. The family's 2-door Ford station wagon to the right of the building would make two cross-country Mississippi to California trips in a few years before we finally settled in The Promised Land of southern California. The clown's outfit was covered with Gulf embroidered patches and he has poorly made-up. I was about 7 at this time. View full size.

Re: Gulfport Tire & Auto Care

As a preface to the "now" pictures, below is the Requisite Shorpy Google Streetview of the location.


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Gulfport Tire & Auto Care

Hello - we just bought the old Gulf Gas Station; other than an add-on to the side and read of the building this just as it was then. The address is 1606 Pass Road Gulfport, MS 39501. We will be posting new pictures of the building; we are in the middle of cleaning and painting now.

Bathroom

Yes to the question for Just Wonderin, there is a third bathroom around back. It has a very high ceiling and a window over the top of the door.

Have I been there?

I think I may have gotten gas there...if its the one I am thinking of, its on the highway that runs parallel to the gulf of Mexico? I stopped at a similar place on the coast about 5 years ago for gas.

I have seen this building!

I am from Gulfport and I believe I have seen this building just up from the port. I think is was 30th Avenue. My grampa used to paint all the signs around Gulfport. He went by the nickname Munch. Do you know who did the signs Don? Great to see this anyway! Thanks!

When gas was cheap

My dad owned a gas station & store around this time period & gas was around 25 cents a gallon. Those were the days, huh? And our city must have been bigger than this one - our phone number was 4 digits & I still remember them - 6621!

Fillerup

In 1955 we handed the attendant a dollar bill and he pumped about four gallons into our car. And that came with a window wash and an oil check. Not long after, with the same car, we did the usual "fill it with oil and check the gas."

Gas Prices in 1955

Can anyone zoom in on this to tell me how much per gallon regular gas was selling at this station? When I bought my first used car, a 3-toned two-door 1952 Pontiac Catalina. purchased off a lot in Port Arthur, Texas, not far from a big Gulf refinery there, I think the price of regular leaded was about 31 cents. A year later, in Plainfield NJ, the price was about the same, but the car had worn out completely by then. So my dad co-signed a loan and I bought a brand new, stripped down 1957 two-door Ford Fairlane in Delaware, which was a terrific car.

An "After" Pic

If you could remember the address, I could take a pic of whatever's there now for a before and after... I live right next door in Biloxi.

P-15

It's definitely a P-15 sedan. I'm betting on '48. I've one in the garage and I'd know that shape anywhere.

Where in Gulfport?

Was the station on Highway 90 or on 49?

Sound cars

I remember the "Sound Cars." They would drive through your neighborhood and you would hear this deep voice saying something like "Come to Meyer's Department Store today for our pre-fourth of July sale, everything 25% off." The voice sounded like the voice of God on an old Charlton Heston movie and it was so loud you could hear it all through the house. Usually the speaker would pause 30-45 seconds before repeating it again as he drove by slowly. Looking back on it, it was a bit eerie. I never heard them after the mid-60s, they probably were outlawed in most towns.

City or country location

It is hard to tell. During my Greyhound driving years I would come upon a little cinder block gas station that still had the "Good Gulf" or "Chief" logo with the trademarked lettering styles over the garage bays in the deep rural South. We had a Phillips 66 in our part of the county, part auto center (gas, service, etc), part convience store and part boyhood education (auto parts calendars).

Happy Days

I love this picture! My dad was a salesman for Atlantic Refining in the early 1960s in North Carolina. I have some photos of an Atlantic station grand opening that looks almost identical to this picture, right down to the clown!

I recall being scared of the clown as a 3-year old. It was common then at grand openings to have a clown, helium balloons, the trianglar flag streamers (in primary colors like red, blue, green, etc) and a big stack of Coca-colas to give away with every fill-up.

Even after the hoopla died down, attendants in pressed uniforms washed your windshield and checked the oil and tires, at least until the first oil shock in '73 put an end to that luxury.

What a great time to start a business!

HyDrive

The Plymouth scheme of combining a fluid clutch with a three speed manual transmission was called HyDrive.

What Is It About Clowns

that is so scary? I would drive clear of any clown in a gas station - especially this one.

1954 Plymouth

The transmission you're referring to was called Hy-Drive.

Moving on

When I was last in Gulfport, 1990 or so, the building was still there on Pass Road but had become a quick oil change place. My father and mother decided on California and we left Gulfport. I never learned the details of the business decisions to open the station and then leave it, but in California he found his niche selling Fords. We are descended from pioneer folk who in colonial times moved from Virginia to Georgia, and then on to Alabama and Mississippi; so, the trek to California was another step in the process. Perhaps curiously, I have spent most of my adult life in the South...but my favorite baseball team is the Angels.

Somewhere in the dusty archive is a photo of the clown and he was a truly amateur joey. Today we have guys with twirling signs and huge foam hands to entice us; an improvement in marketing?

Just Wonderin'

I see a median strip--was this on U.S. 90? If so, I passed by many times in those years, maybe even bought gas there in the late '50s and early '60s.

And I see only two bathroom doors. Was there a third around back? (Men, Women, and Colored.)

A Simpler Time

That was a time when my friends and I, standing on a street corner, could identify the make, model, and year of every car that went by. I can almost identify all the cars here except I can't see the details to get the years right. The big dark fourdoor sedan reminds me of our family 1948 Plymouth Deluxe but I can't see the trim well enough to be sure of the year. I loved that car. I also got in a bad accident with it but I can honestly say it was not my fault. My father then got a 1954 Plymouth Belvedere with a strange kind of breakdown-prone no-shift fluid drive whose proprietary name I can't recall.

How long

...was the station there? Could it still have been there in the early Seventies?

If so, I think I might have bought gas there on one of my trips between east Texas and south Georgia; I typically diverted from the direct route just to see the countryside.

Nash wagon

The car with the sign Sound Car for Hire looks like a Nash. I would love to see what this looks like today.

Hi kids! I'm Gulfy!

I don't suppose you have any close-up shots of the clown? Those would be priceless. A guy in Mississippi dressed as a clown, covered with Gulf patches. You can't make this stuff up.

Love that station design. Goober Pyle'd sell his mother to own a station like that. Minus the clown.

Sound Car For Hire

We had a 53 Ford wagon too. I like the "Bathtub Nash" with extra added features -- a large paging horn and a roving billboard. For a moment I thought the service station also rented "sound" cars, until I saw the loudspeaker. Come one, come all, and join the fun!

Torn Down

Just last year a service station identical to the picture was torn down in my town. I also heard on the news today that a service station built in 1933 was being moved so as to preserve it. I missed where that station was located.

Sound Rental

It's good to know that that Rambler wagon is "sound"; I'd hate to think it was otherwise! I do like the term "sound"; no longer a familiar usage. Cool.

[It's a "sound car" because of the giant bullhorn on top. - Dave]

The other promised land

Gulfport is now, to many, The other promised land.

2 door Fords were "Ranch Wagons", big open area in the back for us pre-seatbelt boomers to bounce around in.

Great picture, thanks for sharing.

So which hurricane

finally put this station out of business?

 
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