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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Gas Shack: 1920

The Gas Shack: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Penn Oil Co., Columbia Road station between 17th & 18th." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Argonne Place

This is the back of Argonne Place, which is in between Columbia Road and Harvard Street, 16th and 17th. Late 1920 is my best guess for time period.

Argonne Place

I'll have to get a better photo with my camera instead of my phone. The gas station is now an apartment complex. Houses built in 1921, and are still here. What do you think? I'd say it's the same developer if it's not the same houses.


Did anyone notice the Pennzoil sign on the shack? It looked old even THEN!

[The sign reads PENN OIL. - Dave]

The row houses

They look brand new, and modern -- anyone know if they are still around?

Aromatic hydrocarbons

Gas stations used to smell like gas stations; a 7-Eleven with a pump island doesn't.


I'm struck by the styling and the newness of those dwellings in the background -- it almost looks like a modern, present-day apartment complex being built in the background of a 1920 photograph.

Not a great deal

I was just thinking the other day that gas was selling for 24 to 28 cents a gallon during the gas wars of 1970.

33 cents a gallon!

That's pretty pricey for 1920!!!

No Frills Fuel

I'll bet it was fixed up real nice inside.

The price of gas

33 cents in 1920 is equivalent to $3.50 today. Guess I should stop complaining.

Lightning Motor Fuel

33 cents a gallon!


"Unescorted lady motorists always welcome. Open after dark!"

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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