SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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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.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

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]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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