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Pre-Fabricated House Stations

As drive-in filling stations replaced curbside pumps in the 1920s, the new structures sought to assimilate with the existing environment. More and more, gas stations moved into residential neighborhoods. In order to preserve the character of the neighborhood, oil companies designed their filling stations to reflect popular house styles. These pre-fabricated structures took on a number of styles, including the bungalow, Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival. Grounds were often landscaped, and flower boxes were placed in windows. Early house style stations had canopies. In the late 1920s, the canopies were being removed, freeing up space for more cars.

Many pre-fabricated house designs were trademarks of specific oil companies. The image below is an example of the widely popular Puroil English Cottage design. Steeply pitched blue shingled roofs and white stucco walls characterize this quaint filling station.

Puroil English Cottage

Puroil English Cottage: Image courtesy of John Jakle, Gas Station in America, 1994.

The following two images are examples of some of the house style gas stations seen in the 1920s.

House Style

House Style: Image courtesy of John Jakle.

House Style

House Style: Image courtesy of John Jakle.

By the late 1920s, gas stations began providing additional services to their customers, such as car washes and oil changes. Additional service bays were added on to the existing structure. Prior to 1935, these bays usually reflected the style of the building. Eventually, after 1935, service bays were simple, flat-roof boxes.

The image below illustrates a Puroil English Cottage gas station with an additional service bay. Notice how the service bay closely matches the style of the main station. This type of configuration likely dates from the late 1920s to 1935.

Puroil English Cottage Plus Service Bay

Puroil English Cottage Plus Service Bay: Image courtesy of Chester Liebs, Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture, 1985.

The additional service bays on the image below do not reflect the Tudor Revival style of the main building. The flat-roofed addition was likely added in mid-to-late 1930s.

House Style Plus Service Bays

House Style Plus Service Bays: Image courtesy Chester Liebs.

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