Friday, February 10, 2012

Sinclair Gas Stations – Part 2

Dino the Sinclair Dinosaur from a 1959 newspaper ad in the Lorain Journal
A full-page ad in the Lorain Journal from July 18, 1959 gave a nice capsule history of the Sinclair brand of gas stations in Lorain County.

According to the ad, Mr. H. D. Murphy started out in the oil business in Lorain in 1922 with a bulk plant at West 14th Street. In 1945, he formed The Lake Erie Oil Company with one service station and a bulk plant located at the intersection of Route 254 and Pearl Road, by the railroad tracks. By 1959, there were 18 Sinclair service stations in Lorain County.

They were spread out far and wide in the late 1950's and early 1960's. On the east side of Lorain, there was Thomas Sinclair Service at E. Erie and Iowa (now the location for Whittguard Security & Patrol Services); Swanson's Sinclair Service and later, Clem's Sinclair Service at 717 E. Erie (now the location for Mr. Hero).

1960 Lorain Telephone book ad for Clem's Sinclair Service
1961 Lorain Telephone book ad for Clem's Sinclair Service showing new dinosaur marketing campaign

Out in Sheffield Lake at the corner of Abbe and E. Lake was Hal's Sinclair Service. 
1960 Lorain Phone Book ad for Hal's Sinclair Service
In Downtown Lorain at Broadway & 9th was Muzik Brothers Sinclair Service. Over on Reid at 17th Street was Whitey's Sinclair Service. And in South Lorain was Dick's Sinclair Service at Pearl and E. 29th Street.

There was also Bob & Bill's Sinclair Service at the corner of State Routes 58 and 113 in South Amherst, and Ray's Sinclair Service at State Route 254 and Elyria Avenue.

But it was only a matter of time before the Sinclair stations went extinct in Lorain County. According to this wiki entry, Sinclair was acquired by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in 1969. Thus many stations by the 1970's were selling ARCO gas. Some stations switched to a different brand around this time as well.

Out in Sheffield Lake, the Sinclair service station at Abbe and East Lake became Abbe Road Arco Service by 1975. The new brand of gas must not have caught on, because by 1978 the location became Donutville and then Fraam's Restaurant after that. Today it is the location for the Spin Spot internet cafe.

Although you can no longer find a Sinclair service station in Lorain County, there are more than 2,600 of them in 20 states in the Western and Midwestern United States (according to that Wiki entry). If you are ever motoring Out West, you can look for the sign of the green dinosaur and fill up with Dino (regular) or Dino Supreme (high-octane).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dan,
Two Sinclair memories - there was a Sinclair station a block from my house in South Buffalo and I remember well the changeover to ARCO in the early 70's. Secondly - my parents retired to a community very near Weeki Watchee Springs, FL and when visiting them I was always struck by this gas station (see link) on US 19 on the outskirts of town. Now THAT's the way to do the dinosaur.
Happy Motoring with dead dinosaur,
Don Wozniak