|Photo Courtesy Jeremy Reynolds|
In August, I received an email from Norm McNary. He wrote, "I just wanted to tell you to check out Benny's Carriage Shop on the corner of Reid Ave. and 8th Street. Benny is stripping all the paint that was covering the old original "Cities Service"sign from around 1930. He's also planning on installing some old time gas pumps out front. If you get the chance, check it out! It's very neat."
My apologies to both Jeremy and Norm for waiting so long to take them up on their suggestion. Ben Bonaminio's restoration of his building to its Cities Service roots is pretty neat.
I spent a little time in the library researching the gas station. As Norm noted, its Cities Service heritage goes way back. The gas station's Reid Avenue address wasn't even listed in the 1926 directory, but in the next available book – the 1929 edition – it was already a Cities Service station.
|1929 Lorain City Directory Listing|
The station seemed to maintain its Cities Service (and later, Citgo) branding throughout its entire run, and it had many owners through the years. A partial list of owners (with approximate dates) includes E. E. Widmer (late 1930s), Vern R. Wait (1940s), Wood Brothers (early 1950s), Paul Vincent (late 1950s), and Lee Nimon (late 1950s). In the 1960s, the station was known as Hunger's Cities Service (1965), Ryan's Citgo (late 1960s to early 1970s), and Joseph Szabo Citgo Service (1972) before briefly becoming vacant at the time of the 1973 directory. Finally, the station became known as Ronald Hunger's Citgo before going vacant again around 1977.
After that, the building found new life almost immediately in the car care field. A few of the companies that called the former gas station home before Benny's include Quality Auto Reconditioning (1978), Miracle Shield (1980) and Trans Protection Systems (1982).
****Even before Jeremy and Norm drew my attention to the gas station's new retro look last summer, I had photographed the building on one of my jaunts around town. Here's my shot from April of 2014 (below) – just a few months before it would be transformed.
****Incidentally, Benny's Carriage Shoppe Inc. has been in business since 1979 and specializes in under body protection, raw rust protection, and auto detailing (complete auto cleaning of interior and exterior, interior shampooing, buffing, waxing, pin striping, window tinting) and Miracle Shield Paint Sealant. You can contact the firm at (440) 244-2330.