During the c.1950-1970s, Phillips had two station types: an oblong box, and the batwing or gullwing design. The latter of these was my holy grail of gas stations. I honestly thought I would never find one in Mississippi, let alone one still standing. Lo and behold, there is one in Durant! It maybe a little bit of good news after all the bad news out of Durant due to the destructive tornado earlier this year. TxDOT Field Guide to Gas Stations in Texas describes the ‘batwing’ Phillips 66:
“In 1960, Phillips 66 introduced what arguably became its most popular and iconic service station design, which featured a large, upward-slanting, triangular-shaped canopy. Clarence Reinhardt, an architect who worked at Phillips and designed most of the company’s buildings, developed this distinctive design, inspired by designs he observed in Southern California.”
Below is a Google Street View image of the c.1965 batwing Phillips 66 station in Durant on North Jackson Street.
Between the wedge shape protruding upward and the pairs of metal columns with a zigzag cross bracing detail, the canopy is unmistakable as a former Phillips service station. Another interesting detail is the end-to-end fluorescent tube light fixtures along the canopy edge, which would really accentuate the upward thrust of the canopy after dark. Thankfully the canopy is still in good shape, but the storefront of this building has been modified. The removed storefront was similar to all Phillips 66 station of the era: large, plate-glass slanted display windows are the most distinctive feature.
The “oblong box” Phillips 66 design of the 1950s, as described in the 2016 TxDOT Field Guide to Gas Stations in Texas, retained the standard oblong box with or without the canopy form of its earlier gas station design, but added outward slanting windows & long and narrow masonry at the entrance and along the base of the office. Other features the field guide identified are:
• Flat roof with a “stepped” design – service wing higher than office
• Wide parapet around building and canopy roof with wide recessed band centrally located
• Concrete block and narrow rough-hewn stone exterior finish
• If present, canopy has flat roof and rests on two metal poles
• Large, plate-glass slanted display windows are the most distinct feature
• Modern style
The oblong box design was a much more common Phillips 66 station type of the era, at least in Mississippi, than the more adventurous batwing design. These examples are in Durant, Monticello, and Laurel.
The Phillips Petroleum Company was founded in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 1917. However the company did not begin marketing gasoline until 1927, opening its first gas station in Wichita, Kansas. In 2002, Phillips Petroleum Company merged with Conoco Inc. Both companies continued to market gasoline products under their own names.
Do you know of any other Phillips 66 stations of the c.1950-c.1970’s era in Mississippi?
Did you enjoy this post on a Mississippi Gas Station? Consider checking out these other “Friday is a Gas” posts.
- Friday is a Gas: Curbside Gas Pumps (c.1910-c.1925)
- Friday is a Gas: Commercial Block Service Stations c.1920-c.1930
- Friday is a Gas: Gulf Gas Stations c.1920-c.1930
- Friday is a Gas: Sinclair Station c.1930s
- Friday is a Gas: Classical Revival Stations c.1930-?
- Friday is a Gas: Pan Am/Amoco Stations c.1930-c.1940
- Friday is a Gas: Cities Service Stations c.1930 – c.1950
- Friday is a Gas: Teague & The Icebox (1937-c.1955)
- Friday is a Gas: Lion Stations c.1940
- Friday is a Gas: Humble c.1950-c.1960
- Friday is a Gas: Humble, Enco, Esso, and Exxon c.1960-c.1970
- The Matawan Texacos of Mississippi (1965-c.1975)