Gas Stations of the Past

Gas Stations of the Past

Gas Stations of the Past

Their names once dotted street corners across the country, and their jingles and commercials filled the airwaves. Your parents and even grandparents may have driven across the wires, ringing a bell that let the attendant know of their arrival at the pumps. Their names are largely forgotten today, unless prompted. They are the gas stations of the past.


Formed in 1816, Sinclair Oil used the profile of a dinosaur in its logo to convey the long held belief that oil was the product of dinosaur remains from far beneath the Earth’s surface. While once a large public company, Sinclair is now a group of about 1,600 independent gas stations in 30 states across the country. Yes, they still use a dinosaur in their advertising and marketing. It is believed Dinoco in both Toy Story and Cars is based on Sinclair.


Sohio (Standard Oil of Ohio) was a popular Midwestern brand of gas station until it was sold to British Petroleum and rebranded as BP starting in 1987. There are just a few stations that bear the Sohio branding along the Ohio River and along the shores of Lake Erie.


Hess was particularly popular in the South and in Florida for their green and white pumps and gas stations, and collectible trucks and toys. Speedway acquired most of the gas stations and convenience stores by the end of 2017, but interestingly enough, the Hess vehicles are still available each holiday season.

Union Oil/ Unocal

Many will recall Union Oil, Union 76, and Unocal for their big orange-colored signs bearing the company logo. The company had a lengthy history that dated back to 1890, but was acquired by Chevron in 2005. It no longer does business under the Unocal name.

The gas or service stations built their own brands, had their own credit cards, printed their own maps, and handed out an array of promotional materials. Many not only sold fuel but also oil and provided automobile repair services. Today, they are more likely to sell pizza and hot dogs than tires and wipers.

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