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Courtesy Service: 1940

Courtesy Service: 1940

June 1940. "Trucks in service station on Bladensburg Road, Washington, D.C., U.S. Route 1." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.


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I noted immediately that Bladensburg Road, near where I live, is not US 1. Now US 1 is Rhode Island Avenue through Mount Rainier and Hyattsville.

But it turns out that Delano's labeling was correct in 1940: During World War II, Rhode Island Avenue was widened and the route moved a mile or so west of Bladensburg, with the old road designated Alternate US 1. This was done to relieve congestion on the major north-south corridor. Good luck with that. Today the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Interstate 95 are monsters of congestion, and neither US 1 nor Alternate 1 is much better.


Notice the Esso station in the background. I remember as a child when they changed it to Exxon in 1973. Still Esso is Canada though.

Defenseless fuel dispensers

No hose breakaway connectors, bumper posts , effective size islands to stop vehicle damage. I test and inspect fuel dispensers that have been repaired after drive-offs (hose left in vehicle fuel fill neck) and vehicle contact with the aforementioned safeguards in-place. Daily contact requiring repairs aren't uncommon.

I can only imagine how often these beautiful dispensers met an early demise.

Good year

At far right, in front of the air pump, is a 1936 Packard 120, the company’s top seller, meant to allow it to survive the Depression.

Microscopic mirrors

I love both of these tractors and trailers, but, good luck seeing anything in those tiny mirrors.

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