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Verified Lubrication: 1939

Verified Lubrication: 1939

1939. "Service station in Washington, D.C." Continuing today's Essorama. 35mm nitrate negative by David Myers. View full size.


C. Heurich, jr., Realty Co.

That probably explains the Senate Beer billboard. Christian Heurich bought a great deal of land in Washington, DC and to this day various members of the family hold real estate throughout the city.

Incidentally, his grandson Gary brought the brand back in the 80's as a microbrew. I still have a 6-pack.

Washington Garage Filling Station

Washington Post, September 24, 1933.

Washington Garage Firm Acquires Holdings.

Washington Garage Parking Service is increasing its downtown parking space in the block bounded by Pennsylvania avenue, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and E streets northwest. It has leased for an indefinite period from C. Heurich, jr., Realty Co., 23,000 square feet of property in the block with frontages of 170 feet on Pennsylvania avenue and about 30 on Twelfth street. …

The additional leases, according to company officials, will give it the largest parking lot in the South. They will continue to operate the garage service which caters to downtown hotel business. The company also operates a standard automobile service station at Twelfth and E streets northwest.

Two-door coupe

The two-door coupe in front of the small hut is a 1935 Chevrolet Master Coupe. 1935 was the only year that Chevrolets had rear hinged front doors, and it was only on the Master series. The Standard model had conventional front hinged doors and the styling was almost identical the 1934 models. The Masters had the front grille of the '34s and the body resembled the 1936s.

Suicide doors everywhere!

It's amazing how many of the cars in this picture have rear-hinged "suicide doors" - not just for the rear doors of four-door sedans, but also the two-door coupe in front of the small hut.

Verified means . . .

According to an ad in a 1951 edition of the Biloxi Daily Herald, "Standard VERIFIED Lubrication is a thorough, scientific lubrication procedure that gets the RIGHT amount of the RIGHT lubricant at the RIGHT place." It is "more than a 'grease job.'" Presumably, it also involves somebody verifying something, although you can't see that from the advertising copy.

A rare early Esso sign

that neon sign with the older type lettering is a real collectors item today.

Verified lubrication

is when you pump so much lube into the fitting that the boot ruptures and grease leaks down on the floor.

Verified Lubrication

You know a joint is on the up and up if they verify the lubrication. It almost makes me want to go back in time to 1930s D.C. to find out exactly what that means.

Sardine parking

My assumption is that the customers did not park their own cars (just imagine what that would have been like), but that attendants jockeyed them around in order to cram as many in as possible. They would by management decree therefore be mindful of not dinging adjoining doors.

Rumble seat era

I suspect a few of these cars would have had rumble seats, probably the roadsters and coupes, because that would have been the likely time period. My older cousin had a hot rod about this vintage in which he would often take my sibs and me for a ride and that exterior seat was great fun for youngsters (up and down the very steepest hills of Ct.) although it probably wasn't so safe.

The location today and about that beer

View Larger Map

Also Senate Beer was brewed on land that now is part of the Kennedy Center and includes the Watergate Complex. Yeah that Watergate.

Senate Beer & Ale

Senate was brewed in D.C. since the Civil War by the Christian Heurich Brewing Company. They survived Prohibition, but not their big national competitors like Pabst, Schlitz and Budweiser. They closed their doors in 1956.

Amazing how new all those cars are

The oldest one I see is the '30-'31 Ford.


I went to a filling station that didn't verify I was lubed properly -- once.

Parking 25 cents

Getting your car out from the back row -- $10!!!

Something big

Seems to me most of those cars are jammed in there because something's going on nearby. The two women with the bags to the right of the pump jockies appear to be wrapping up a shopping trip. That 25 cents parking fee is a little over four bucks today. I parked on Wisconsin Avenue in D.C. a few weeks ago and it was a lot more than that!

Molasses in January

I wonder if those seven oil pump dispensers between the gas pumps are there year-round? I'd hate to be the grease monkey who has to pump four quarts of 90-weight when the temperature dips into the single digits as it can do in D.C.! As the saying goes, Slower 'n molasses in January!

O'Donnell's Sea Grill

From their website, "The O’Donnell’s story began over three quarter centuries ago when Tom O’Donnell opened his first restaurant, the “Sea Grill”, in downtown Washington, D.C. at 1207 E Street, N.W. in 1922."

Door Dings

Imagine the door divots those big old swinging slabs of steel could make. My wife complains because I park the ol' Ford at the back of the Piggly Wiggly parking lot to avoid door dings from suburbanites in SUVs. She's in a snit because she has to walk a few extra yards to get her hummus and meatless meatballs or whatever nonsense she's feeding me these days.

Looks Like a Toy From this Angle

Looks like one of those tin lithograph service station toys with a really fabulous collection of toy cars. I want one.


I come for the parking, but I stay for the greasing!

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