The Matawan Texacos of Mississippi

A former Texaco brand service station, built in the company’s “Matawan” style c. 1965. Monticello, Lawrence County, Mississippi

I was in Monticello (Mississippi) a while back when a handsome former service station caught my eye. It is unmistakable as a Texaco station built in that fuel company’s “Matawan” style, so named after the site of the first location of this design in Matawan, New Jersey (click here to see a period image).  According to an archived version of the Texaco.com station history page, Texaco…

“adopted the Matawan design, which was appropriate for both residential and commercial areas. It featured green roofs, fieldstone walls, large display windows and side-entrance lubrication bays.”

The Matawan, New Jersey station was built in 1964.  The design effort was a partnership of Texaco engineers such as James Robert Saunders and the industrial design firm of Peter Muller-Munk Associates.  In an ideal site such as the location of the Monticello station the vehicle bays were accessed on the side.  In restricted, or sometimes older remodeled stations the vehicle bays were accessed from the front.  An example of this is a former Texaco Station in Jackson.  The service bay openings of the Jackson former Texaco were filled in around 2005 when the station was converted to a Little Caesars Pizza, but that roof line creates the unmistakable appearance of a Texaco branded station.  I guess that is what Texaco wanted.

A former Texaco service station built in the brand’s Matawan style. North State Street, Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi. Image from Google Street View May 2016. Accessed 4-5-17

These are the only two examples in Mississippi that I am aware of off the top of my head.  As I’ve seen these stations all across the USA, surely there are others tucked away in parts of Mississippi?  Do you have a “Matawan” Texaco Station in your neck of the woods?

As a side note while researching the Matawan stations I came across a neat document entitled A Field Guide to Gas Stations in Texas.  This field guide was prepared by the Texas Department of Transportation, Environmental Affairs Division, Historical Studies Branch.  On page 100 of the PDF you can read the brief entry for the Matawan style Texaco Stations.  If MDOT is interested in having a similar document compiled, I am happy to render my services. :)

http://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/preserve/survey/highway/TxDOT%20Field%20Guide%20to%20Gas%20Stations%20in%20TX%202016.pdf



Categories: Architectural Research, Asides, Building Types, Cool Old Places, For Sale, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Modernism, Recent Past

Tags:

15 replies

  1. The Texas guide was great–like a drive through my childhood service stations (well, “filling stations” in my childhood :) I definitely think Mississippi needs one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point. The style guide terminology I used for this post was to refer to structures with vehicle bays as “service stations”. I’m curious if there are Matawan variants that do not include service bays. The act of of placing the bay access on the side of the station possibly was initially based on Texaco’s desire for a station that would fit well in a residential neighborhood, but this also has practical reasons as well since you don’t have lined up gas customers blocking the vehicle bays.

      Like

  2. That’s interesting, we always called them “gas stations” in the Florida Panhandle of the 1970s and 1980s. I wonder if they chronologically went from “service” to “filling” to “gas” because many stations of the 1960s and 70s were built without service bays, or if this is more of a regional variation in the use of “filling” and “gas”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think “filling” and “gas” are likely regional terms for the same thing (at least for a time – not sure I know of any place where “fillin'” is the term used), but I would agree with the idea that the “terminology” for the buildings went from “service” stations to “filling”/”gas” stations as fewer of them actually provided much more than fuel for your car.

      Of course, the few I know of that still have mechanic’s bays I would still call a gas station – but that’s all I remember calling them growing up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right about the chronologically. A filling station might offer other services than simply just gas, say topping off oil or windshield fluid, but not more extensive service that might be available at a service station.

      Like

  3. Opened my eyes! A very revelatory, very entertaining post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In full disclosure there was one Matawan based station that I was aware of but omitted from the post. This building is located at 1700 Pass Rd, Gulfport. It has a confusing form when compared to the standard Matawan design, but the elements are there that make it undeniable; mansard with transoms on two sides, wide fascia with an inverted slope, and a field-stone accent wall.

    Like

  5. We never EVER used the term “filling/fillin'” stations. It was “gotta go to the service station to get some gas.” LOL. UNLESS we were going to Billups then it was to “Fill up with Billups!”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Southaven had a Texaco with the Matawan-style roofline (https://www.flickr.com/photos/l_dawg2000/8206950947/in/album-72157631915277930/), which was remodeled in the mid-80’s. I believe there are still a handful of these still standing in Memphis

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow this was quite a unique Matawan. It looks like a pre-1965 station that received the Matawan update at some point. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an example where the mansard roof line is tacked to the front of the building. It’s really quite intriguing. Thanks!

      Like

  7. My father used to get our cars serviced at that former Matawan Texaco station turned Little Caesar’s.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: