Gas Stations of Yesterday

Many Americans don’t remember when a service station didn’t mean ‘self-service.’ 40-plus years ago, a (usually) polite attendant would come out to your car and not only pump the gas, but also wipe the windshield clean and check your oil for free, if you desired, all without you getting out of your car. When it came time to pay, the attendant would take your money or credit card and finish the transaction right there at your car window. And the stations were not all cookie-cutter ‘Generica’ glass, plastic and steel, as these photos attest, and it wasn’t uncommon for the owner to live on the premises. Below is a record of a sadly bygone era when businesses catered to customers with more than an empty smiley face and a perfunctory ‘have a nice day’ greeting.

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