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Fill Er Up: 1920

Fill Er Up: 1920

Washington, D.C., 1920. "Penn Oil Company, Massachusetts Avenue and North Capitol." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.


Penn Oil

This gas station occupies space that is now the National Guard Association and, just to the west, a new office building housing lobbying operations for the National Cable Television Association, General Motors and the AMA, where I work. In the background you see the big Post Office building that now houses both the National Postal Museum and a local brewpub. And still, a working post office. Very cool. This is a great site.

Early Gas Stations

I love the photos of early gas stations. This one may be the smallest I've ever seen, but there are some tiny (but architecturally sophisticated) ones from the 1920s still standing in various places around town. Thank you for early gas station photos, Shorpy!

Pump It! Pump It!

This is so cool. So, when you had to pump your gas, you literally had to hand pump the equipment to get the gas to come out? I've honestly never thought about the literal meaning of a phrase that I say all the time. And I feel like a total whippersnapper by asking the question.


80 cents per gallon in 1920 equates to $9.51 in 2007 dollars.

[The "80 cents" sign in the photo is the price for four quarts of motor oil, not gasoline. - Dave]

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