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Auto Laundry: 1940

Auto Laundry: 1940

September 1940. Washington, D.C. "Service station on Connecticut Avenue." At the "Auto Laundry," where dark colors evidently get washed together. Medium format nitrate negative by Edwin Rosskam. View full size.


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Dark color wash?

In the summer of 1940, there were too few autos that were not dark. In fact mostly Black!

Could Be the Park & Shop

Before the Park & Shop was renovated there was a car wash at the southern end, on the corner of Conn. and Ordway. It does not appear in photos of the original shopping center, so it must have been added later. It was removed with the renovation and matching storefronts replaced it.

And of course, there's the name.

Not the Park and Shop

I don't think that's the Park and Shop in Cleveland Park, although that was my first thought, too. The Park and Shop is much more Colonial Revival than this building. It does look like the Broadmoor in the background, though. Maybe this building sat where the Exxon is now located, on the southeast corner of Connecticut and Porter? Or maybe it's somewhere else on Connecticut altogether?

[That is the Broadmoor. - tterrace]

Red Light Flyer

The airplane hood ornament on the Ford has a light in the cockpit that shines though the red tinted windows when either the car is turned on or a switch is turned on inside the car. The wingspan is roughly 7 1/2 inches and is about 9 inches in length; it has a two blade propeller that spins when the car in in motion; and it has a seven cylinder (nonfunctional) rotary engine. It came with at least 3 1/2 feet of electrical cord (6 volt). It is 3 inches high, and it weighs about one pound. There does not appear to be a manufacturer name stamped on the airplane anywhere.

Simoniz and tire irons

The old Simoniz paste wax in the yellow tin was a bear to apply and polish off. When my dad waxed his 55 Pontiac he always worked up quite a sweat doing so. As for the question of how the tires were changed while still on the car, my guess would be that they used tire irons, although I don't see any laying around on the ground.


The hood ornament on the '36 Ford identified by mountainrev calls for adding an "Airplanes" tag to this Shorpy entry.

smart fellers

I like how they are changing the tires without pulling the wheels of

[the car? - tterrace]

Simon says

I want to be Simonized!

Unless it hurts.

And darn little tread, too

Our tube installers are working with pretty bald tires, it appears, especially on the left. And wartime rationing hasn't even started yet.

Smart Mechanics

Properly using jack stands instead of milk crates!

Costly car wash!

I thought that 75 cents sounded high, and checked it in two inflation calculators. It comes out to $12.30 in today's money. I can't imagine many people could afford it.

Free Air

Ah, the good old days.

What Service!

I can even see two lads changing the air in the tyres (sorry-Tires to you)and putting some fresh in!

Well above the call of duty.

Car I.D.s

Foreground: '36 Ford. Background left: '37 Chrysler. Background right: '39 Pontiac. No clue on the rest.

Seventy-five cents for a car wash is about $12 today. Must have included hand waxing with Simoniz.

Connecticut at Porter

If I'm not mistaken, that is the small strip mall on Connecticut Ave. between Ordway and Porter, on the eastern side. (The sliver of building behind in the upper left is my clue.) That part of the building on the left (where it says "auto laundry") is now Palena.

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