Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Grand Opening of Cities Service Station – March 17, 1955

I've got to admit, I wasn't familiar with the Cities Service brand of gasoline shown in the above Grand Opening ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on March 17, 1955 – 60 years ago this month. That is, until I learned that Cities Service was the forerunner of CITGO. (You can read the history of the brand here.)

Anyway, the service station shown in the ad, which was located at 401 E. Erie (the corner of California and E. Erie) had previously been listed in the directories as being Don Rounds' station, with no particular brand of gasoline listed in the various phone books and directories.

1959 Lorain Phone Book Listing
By 1955 the station was part of the Cities Service chain.

The names associated with the station in the ad – Wolack and Mersdorf – apparently were not involved with the enterprise for very long. By the time of the 1955-56 directory it was listed as Bob & Jim's City Service gas station (with the names Bob and James Waugaman being associated with the business).

In the 1957 directory, the station was listed as Jack's Cities Service with Jack Edwards listed as the owner. It would retain this name until the time of the 1966 directory, when the CITGO name replaced the original Cities brand and the station became Jack's CITGO Service.

The station would continue under this name until the time of the 1973 directory, when the address was listed as vacant – which is why I don't remember the gas station at all.

I was much more familiar with the building (greatly modified) as the longtime home of Hills Business Machines and its various offshoot office products companies. Hills moved in by the time of the 1976 directory.

Today the building at 401 E. Erie is home to T-Bonds Bail Bonds.

Here is the "now" shot of the building from this past weekend (below).

Tomorrow: Lorain's Retro Cities Service Station 


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Dan, Trifiletti's Citgo on 19th and Elyria was originally a Cities Service station.

BTW, Cities Service Oil was part of one of the most famous documented ghost stories in history-Google "S.S. Watertown".

Wireless.Phil said...

Thanks Alan, I check it out, you should too.

Wireless.Phil said...

I'd rather have that building like it is on the outside, for a home.

Keep the back rooms dark.

Just get rid of all the concrete and plant some grass and trees.