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Vernacular Gas Stations From John Margolies’ Archive of Americana Architecture

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John Margolies (1940-2016) recorded visual wonders found along American roads. Through his photojournalism we see the kind of mimetic and vernacular architecture that even if you don’t like, you should be happy exists. In this gallery we look at gas stations and garages, places of individual expression, eccentricity, fun and fantasy.

“It’s a record of American commerce that no longer exists,” he said. “The mom and pop shops were killed by box stores and the internet.”

 

Teapot gas station

Teapot gas station 1987

Hat n' Boots gas station, overall view, Route 99 1980

Hat n’ Boots gas station, overall view, Route 99 1980

Bomber gas station, diagonal view, Route 99 E.

Bomber gas station, diagonal view, Route 99 E. 1980

Harold's Auto Center, horizontal view, Sinclair gas station, Route 19 1979

Harold’s Auto Center, horizontal view, Sinclair gas station, Route 19 1979

Teepee gas station, Route 40 1980

Teepee gas station, Route 40 1980

Pagoda gas station, Harley Sprague 1977

Pagoda gas station, Harley Sprague 1977

Flagman gas station - 1984

Flagman gas station – 1984

Gas sign - 1980

Gas sign – 1980

Gas Guy statue 1987

Gas Guy statue 1987

Two Stiffs Selling Gas detail (two statues) 1981

Two Stiffs Selling Gas detail (two statues) 1981

Stan The Tire Man statue, angle shot, Broadway 1984

Stan The Tire Man statue, angle shot, Broadway 1984

Octopus Car Wash 1981

Octopus Car Wash 1981

Earl Schieb Auto Painting sign, upper detail, Olympic Boulevard 1981

Earl Schieb Auto Painting sign, upper detail, Olympic Boulevard 1981

Hat & Boots Texaco 1979

Hat & Boots Texaco 1979

Quincy Service Station 1984

Quincy Service Station 1984

Airway drive in center - 1988

Airway drive in center – 1988

Ritter Auto Parts sign 1982

Ritter Auto Parts sign 1982

Sterline Windmill Service 1978

Sterline Windmill Service 1978

Dependable Used Cars sign, Division Street 1982

Dependable Used Cars sign, Division Street 1982

Spray foam trucks prospector statue and sign, overall view, Frontage Road, I-5 1987

Spray foam trucks prospector statue and sign, overall view, Frontage Road, I-5 1987

Teepee at gas station, souvenir place, Route 66 1979

Teepee at gas station, souvenir place, Route 66 1979

Iceberg gas 1980

Iceberg gas station – 1980

Indian City Exxon 1979

Indian City Exxon 1979

Kenco Gas 1982

Kenco Gas 1982

Shell station 1979

Shell station 1979

Egyptian Garage 1979

Egyptian Garage 1979

Menlo Kalbach gas sign, Rt. 6 1978

Menlo Kalbach gas sign, Rt. 6 1978

Milk Depot gas station, vertical view, 900 South & 140 East 1979

Milk Depot gas station, vertical view, 900 South & 140 East 1979

Premium gas station (formerly Joy gas station), Lakeshore Boulevard & Wondermere 1987

Premium gas station (formerly Joy gas station), Lakeshore Boulevard & Wondermere 1987

Menlo Kalbach gas sign, Rt. 6 1978

Menlo Kalbach gas sign, Rt. 6 1978

 

John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive

 

  • Fred Johansen

    A great time. Before the scourge of greed and drugs killed it all.

  • Love this stuff. Is the Iceberg in Missouri? I’m sure I’ve seen one there. Also, just north of Lawrence, KS there is a TeePee Junction Motel.