Friday is a Gas: Curbside Gas Pumps

As mentioned last week, Gulf Oil was the first company to sell gas to automobiles at purpose-built, off-street locations in the latter part of the 1910s.  Prior to that, gasoline was commonly sold from a curbside pump.  Folks lining up on the street to purchase fuel no doubt caused traffic flow problems as cars & trucks began to grow in number.  The image below shows one such curbside pump up in Corinth.  On the right side of the image this pump was installed between 1913 & 1924, when it appears on the Sanborn maps as indicated by a buried gasoline tank.

“Penn Street Looking North from Meiggs Street, Corinth, Miss. Aug. 1927, Robert L. Totten Inc. Cons. Engrs. B’ham. Ala. L. E. G.” Street scene. 1927. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, electronic resource.

1924 Sanborn Map Corinth, Miss

The gasoline tank for the pump was indicated as still being there in the 1949 Sanborn map, but that doesn’t give any indication if the pump was still operating at that late a date. Here is that same view today (c.October 2016) where both the pump and the building behind it have disappeared.

These pumps were once quite common in Mississippi.  Does anyone know where such a curbside pump might still exist?



Categories: Corinth, Historic Preservation, Lost Mississippi

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11 replies

  1. I could not find anything about where such pumps still exist, but it was fun perusing the news items from 1900-1920 that mentioned new filling stations. In Jackson, R. W. Maxey received permission from the city to install Bowser street filling stations on the sidewalks of all streets except Capitol street. The Bower underground filling station was considered the “first practical curb pump” because it had the flexible hose for delivery gasoline to the car without using buckets or funnels. Two businesses in Greenville obtained permission in 1919 to place a curbside filling station in front of their businesses. One was on the corner of Washington Avenue, adjacent to the Goyer Company, and the other on 102 South Poplar in front of Echols Auto Company. Maybe someone will have photos?

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  2. There is a gas pump at the corner as you come into but may be a conventional one as part of the store.

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  3. For many years, there was a preserved curbside gas pump in front of the former LeFleur Cadillac dealership building on Jackson’s South State Street. I haven’t looked lately, so I don’t know if it is still in place. It hasn’t been active in my lifetime, but still stood at the curb.

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    • Is it possible that might have been a former pump that was used as a prop? LeFleur Cadillac was built sometime in the 1940s. A curbside location for this type of pump would be pre-1925.

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      • I know it was not a prop. It went with Sellers Motor Co. and predecessor companies that operated Cadillac dealerships at the site before the 1940’s. The massive remodeling in the early 1970’s dramatically changed the brick frontage of the buildings along South State Street…replacing them with continuous glass display windows floor to ceiling. Before that time, some of the building frontage appeared older than the 1940’s era. This remodeling was done for the Thad Ryan Cadillac era. The pump was still on the street at the time, though as I said earlier, it had long been non-functional.

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        • Ah ok. I was confused when you mentioned LeFleur Cadillac. Yes the 1948 Sanborn map indicates a curbside tank located one block north of 430 S. State Street LeFleur Cadillac building at the Sellers Motor Company 318 S. State Street location.

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          • The 318 South State St. address is the correct one for the historic location of the Cadillac dealerships (Sellers-Thad Ryan-LeFleur). The building housing George Bell Carpets was the remodeled in the 1970’s showroom with service area behind. Originally, the building had a longer frontage on the street. The used car lot was to the left of the building if you faced it. The brick wall along the sidewalk in front of Jaco’s Tacos was built partially of brick recycled from the old brick Sellers buildings. Later, the used cars operation was moved down to the building that once housed Lloyd and then Van Every Ford. That’s when the sign was painted on the adjacent building. Glad we got that straightened out. Wonder if the pump is still on the sidewalk? I’m in Destin, FL, so it would be a long drive to check.

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  4. had such a corner pump. It was almost under the porch of the Brumfield Gro. As of 2013, the store was closed.

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  5. Here is a Google Street View link to an old gas station in Big Creek, MS. The gas pumps are still there. The string of building to the left of the station is a mighty fine steak house. You should try it if you’re ever in the area.

    https://goo.gl/maps/btfVcbF2oNu

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