Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Red Head Grand Opening – May 1971

Last week I did a post about a long-gone Union 76 service station at Abbe Rd. and Colorado Avenue, and there was an interesting comment that was left by a reader.

They wrote, "What was the name of the small gas station that was near the Lorain Public Library in the 1980s and had the head of an Indian in its eye-catching sign?" The reader did not know all the street names in Lorain, so it was unclear as to which station it might be.

From the collection
of Jon Roma
I didn't specifically remember a sign with an Indian head on it, but since my memory has been downright lousy in the last few years (which is not good when you write a nostalgia blog), I thought the station might be the one in the ad above: Red Head. But I was wrong.

The service station celebrated its Grand Opening with the announcement above, which ran in The Journal on May 20, 1971, the eve of the big day.

The service station was located at 1006 West Erie Avenue.

That particular corner had been associated with automotive services since the early 1920s. Moore & Meyers Battery Service seems to have been the first, appearing in the city directory in 1924. Miller Brothers Garage was listed at that corner in the early 1930s, and a Fleetwing Service Station appeared at the listings in the early 1940s.

C. Norman Kent operated a service station there from the mid-1940s and into the 1950s. Bowers Fleetwing had a 1955 listing, about the same time that Moore & Meyers reappeared.

Throughout the 1960s, Moore & Meyers shared the corner with Lorain News Agency. By the time of the 1971 book, the corner was vacant – and Red Head Oil Company took advantage of that opportunity.

Red Head was in business on that corner throughout the 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s. Due to the incomplete collection of directories, I'm not sure when the station closed. According to the Lorain County Auditor website, the property is owned by Speedway. Sure wish they'd put a new station there like our new one in Sheffield Lake!

Today, a closed building remains on the site.

Courtesy Lorain County Auditor website
Here's a link to a few photos of a surviving Red Head gas station in Millersburg, Ohio, along with a little history about the brand. There's a few great vintage photos too.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

could they be talking about the Pontiac dealer Llewellyn I think it was spelled

rae

Dan Brady said...

It might be. I'm wondering if there was a sign or clock in a window or something, because it sounds kinda familiar. But it seems like the oil companies that used Indian heads were all Canada-based. The distinctive Red Head lettering looks vaguely like something you'd see in a Western movie title, so maybe that's the connection - I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

It WAS "Red Head", seeing the signs in that link made me realize that. Maybe I saw an Indian head gas station out west when I was a kid.

Thanks for showing the photo of what it looks like now. You sure do good research!

Mike Kozlowski said...

Dan,

For some reason, I remember that as a Clark oil station, with the Shell station directly across the street next to Frey's. I could be wrong - after all, when you get to my age, the first thing that goes is the memory. I forget what goes next. :)

Mike

Dan Brady said...

Hi Mike,
The Clark station was over on the east side, just over the bridge and next to Gene's Marine. (I double-checked the directory tonight--just in case MY memory is going!)

Alan Nagy said...

I remembered one of the gas pump islands used to give fill up discounts on fuel, if they have a station wagon or pick-up truck. Whenever my mom or dad was in the area, they would fill up there. (I think the Hi-Fy Station on Route 254 did the same thing as Red Head) Did they discontinued the discount after the '73-'74 gas shortage or when self serve started in 1977?