Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Temple to the Gasoline Gods at Broad and the Boulevard

Forget all you know about gas stations: the self-service pumps, the lifts, bays, stretches of oil-stained concrete, bright signage and bad coffee. Imagine a time before all that, from a century ago, when the widespread sale of gasoline was inevitable but the solution as to how and where was not yet known. In an earlier […]
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When Biddle Met Duesenberg

The early twentieth century was the Wild West of the American automotive era.  Hundreds of manufacturers sprung up in cities and towns across the nation. Most failed within a year, usually after producing only a dozen machines.  In 1915, Philadelphia auto enthusiasts opened their magazines to see advertisements trumpeting a new American luxury car.  The […]
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Round One: The Battle for Gasadelphia

“The ideal filling station has never been built,” scoffed a big oil executive in 1922. “I don’t think it ever will be built. But we are trying to get it.” Quite an admission from a man whose company (Standard Oil of Indiana) operated 1,400 stations of its own. The idea of the gas station had […]
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When City and Car First Collided

The automobile’s traction in the city started 100 years ago, but this centennial we don’t necessarily want to celebrate. In 1899, after the first Philadelphian (Junker, Jules Junker) imported his French vehicle, it was a fast uphill ride. By 1907, there were 142,000 motors on American roads. From 1909 to 1910, when Henry Ford’s new […]
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