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We're the Nuts: 1970s

We're the Nuts: 1970s

It was a warm late September night on Route 1 near Saugus, Mass., sometime around 1977. Smokes were 57 cents and gas was 56. Taken for a photography class with a 4x5 view camera. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

The good old days?

A beautifully composed photograph! All of your works posted here are breathtaking, Rizzman. And, thank you for this site, Dave. A couple of points: I don't think the 'cuda is gassing up; too far from the pump. More like- gimme a pack of Marlboro reds, and did you know there's a guy over there taking your picture? It is cool to see such an unadorned kiosk, but this was a time when we didn't feel it necessary to be constantly shoving snack food and soda (or should I say tonic?) into our faces. Cupholders? Yeah, a little dimple on the back of the glovebox door. For when you were parked, not barreling down the highway at 65 with 44 ozs. of HFCS blocking your vision.

A More Innocent Time.

Sadly, in addition to its beauty, this picture is real comment on out time.

No bulletproof glass, no door-lock, no pass-through trough, no security cameras, no panic button.

No "Cashier Does Not Have Access to Safe" sign. I'll bet they didn't even have a floor safe!

And the attendant even leaves the safety of his fortress. My, how times have changed in just thirty-some years.

I remember this place well

We used to drive past this spot every Friday and Sunday, Friday going north to Beverly Farms and Sunday, going south back to Boston. The heart shaped sign in the back ground was a wedding shop with the most spectacularly tacky dresses. I always wanted one of the hot pink, ruffled layered ones. There was an IHOP right on the other side of the bridge, that you can't quite see.

Desktop Background

Yet another immediately placed Shorpy background on my monitor. Thank you once again.

[And thanks to user rizzman1953 for submitting it! - tterrace]

A thousand times, yes...

This is an unbelievably wonderful photo. No matter how anti-BP, anti-fossil fuel, anti-prevalence of the internal combustion engine, or even how nuts one might be ABOUT nuts, great photography shines through.

Self serve on the horizon

In September of '77 I'd been out of high school one year and was working at the SOHIO station at the corner of Main & Washington Blvd. in Belpre, Ohio and going to college full time, too. That summer, Standard Oil had decided to convert the island of pumps on the east side of the station to self serve. When a customer pulled up to the pump, we had to go out and unlock the pump with a key that we carried on us. Self serve was confusing to many people for a while. I remember self serve regular was 55.9 at the time. A great time in my life. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Frank Lloyd Wright: not

The attendant’s shelter, notwithstanding someones best efforts, has all the design elegance of a Chrysler Airflow. Note the Mopar muscle stopping at the high octane stuff. The driver is probably asking when prices went up. The building in the background most likely housed the air compressor for the air hose (free, then) hanging on the exterior wall, and assorted mops, buckets, brooms etc. And of course there’s the ever present pay phone that was as natural to any retail business as a cash register. Looks like gas and cigarettes were it for this place. A very dramatic photograph with a real film noir effect.

"Main St. Saugus, 2nd Exit"

I just drove past where this must have been last night. Based on the exit signs in this photo, I put it on the southbound side of Route 1, approaching the exits for Main St. in Wakefield and Saugus, past the landmark Hilltop Steakhouse. According to Google Street View, there's a Mobil station in roughly the same location today.

This is a beautiful photo - reminds me of the work of Julius Shulman.

No Self Serve?

These were the days when you never got out of your car at the gas station. Leaning into the driver's side window, the station attendant is taking an order something like "Five bucks' worth of regular, please."

If he squeegees the windshield and offers to check the oil, it may be worth a dime or a quarter tip!

Dinoco Was Owned by BP?

This reminds me of the Dinoco gas station in "Toy Story."
What a terrific composition, I just love this photo! There's so much going on: Mopar metal; mixed nuts; 60's-style angular architecture; and 56-cent gas. I think I'm going to cry!


I love this picture, it's quite nostalgic for me because I remember this era well, I graduated High School in 77.

The long haired kid in the Cuda looks like every guy I went to high school with, his car is typical of what we drove back then, Mag wheels and lots of primer paint.

I wondered if it would look better or worse if there wasn't any background clutter so I Photoshopped out the sign and everything in the background.

While I like it better with the sign I think this is a little more spooky looking.

Any chance the OP could identify the exact location for us on Google Maps?


What a lovely, evocative shot. What struck me was the complete lack of junky advertisements taped all over the attendant's little glass-walled building. Try finding a gas station/convenience store with clean, uncluttered windows today.

Oh, and SJBill - go to You can order peanut butter online. You'll have to travel back to the site of this photo to purchase River Queen nuts, though.

Mix them up!

Back in my Chowderhead period (a New Englander for twenty years) River Queen was my favorite brand of locally produced mixed nuts.

Very fresh tasting, with great salt.

By far, their best product was Teddie's Peanut Butter - a wonderful natural product that had to be stirred daily and tasted of peanut and salt.

Both are wonderful brands and wishing they were available out here in Cali.

63 Valiant? Nay!

more like a 63-66 Dodge Dart.

BP Station

With a little oil spill in front. Great photo, the lighting and composition are fantastic. Was that a High School or College photography course? Either way I'd bet it was well received.

It's a Plymouth

Don Struke, the car on the left is a '70 or '71 Barracuda. On the right, a '63 Valiant. I'll take either one, too.

Old Memories

If I recall correctly, Adventure car Hop ('WooWoo Gisberg: WMEX DJ) was just up the road. Across the road was a Carvel stand with a miniature golf course replete with large fiberglass creatures.

57 Cents?

That wandering flow in the foreground was a premonition! I hope BP saved some of the 56.9 cents to pay for future 'events'.

Just Up The Road

I'm going up the road for a Ginsburger at Adventure Car Hop.

The Adventure Car Hop jingle:
"Oh Adventure Car Hop is the place to go for food that's always right-
Adventure Food is always just so, you'll relish every bite-
Out on Route 1 in Saugus, come dressed just as you are-
Adventure where the service is tops and you never get out of your car."

It's the irregularity

That patch of water/spilled brewsky in the foreground: Remove the effect of its wandering, irregular shape and the photo drops to being just a very good photo. (Cover it and you'll see the difference.) With it and the depth it creates, this image jumps to the Best Picture category. Great job, Rizzo, if I may call you that.

I'll take either Mopar (thank you, Jimmy Longshanks).

Caught in time

This captures the moment, the period and the light perfectly.

I remember it like yesterday, OK the day before yesterday.

1977 I was driving a Fiat 1283P. We were appalled that gas was so expensive. Gas is supposed to be 32 cents a gallon. Inflation was about to spike. I remember getting significant pay increases about 4 times a year, but not getting ahead. Both of my sisters lived in this area of Mass at that time, I remember driving there frequently. This brings back so many memories.

Another Fantastic Photo

This is an award winner for sure.


Marty, fire up the DeLorean, we are going for a ride!

This looks like Jim and Pete should be pulling in to use the phone: "One Adam 12, calling in!"

Nuff Said

I love the lines and composition in this photograph. Good work. I may have to have this printed.

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