32¢ Gas; 29¢ Smokes

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Photographers do a lot of cruising around waiting for magic to strike, so we burn a lot of gas. When I was on the street, I drove about 24,000 miles a year.

Even in “retirement” I logged 8,429 miles last year to, from and around Cape to produce this blog. That adds up to a lot of time at gas stations. When I was in Athens, Ohio, in February, I took a drive down West Union Street, but the Bonded station selling gas for 32.9 was just a memory. I’m not a smoker, so I didn’t care that you could buy a pack of cigarettes for less than 30 cents when I took these photos on a chilly October 22, 1968.

McCoy and Hoisington ready to serve

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968D. Hoisington and John McCoy were ready to hop out with their coin changers on their belts to pump your gas, check your fluids, air up your tires and wash your windows. I bought a lot of fill-ups from those guys because they stayed open late, their prices were good and they were just down the street from the photo lab. (For the record, I didn’t remember their names. They were wearing name tags.) You can click on the photos to make them larger.

Not like today’s convenience stores

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Dealer French McCormick ran a clean, but sparse station. You could buy gas, antifreeze, STP oil treatment, a can of oil and some cancer sticks, but you couldn’t walk out with Slurpees, nachos or lottery tickets. If you had a dime, you could make a call from the pay phone on the wall.

An outdoor rack

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Let me tell you, doing an oil change with a cold Ohio wind blowing up your skirt couldn’t have been any fun.

Confusing Wallace message

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968I can’t figure out if this customer and Hoisington are George Wallace supporters are not. The Jeep has a sticker supporting Wallace for “Furer.” I don’t know if they considered that a good thing or a bad thing.

“If you liked Hitler…”

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Hoisington sports two buttons on his uniform. One, probably provided by his employer, reads “They used to call me Fumblefingers before I changed to Bonded.” The second, smaller one, says, “If you liked Hitler, you’ll love Wallace.”

Law ‘n’ Order big

Bonded Service Station - W Union - 10-22-1968Wallace’s Law ‘n” Order message was well received by locals who were fed up with the hippies and radicals at the university. Wallace bumper stickers weren’t uncommon in the rural areas.

Service Station stories

Like I said, I spent a lot of time at gas stations.



10 Replies to “32¢ Gas; 29¢ Smokes”

  1. Looks like a manual tire changer in the back by the lift. Those were real fun to use especially during a hot Cape summer. Also looks like they sold kerosene or bulk oil from the barrels beside the guy with the Wallace sign picture.

  2. One of my grandfather Grossheider’s favorite jokes was about a hard-of-hearing service station attendant. A lady came in one day asking where the restroom was. He thought she asked where the whisk broom was. He told her to back up to the air hose and he would blow it our for her.

  3. Just curious, but I’m wondering if the price of gas and cigarettes follow the same upward spiral. With gas being about the same price as cigarettes. Wow a new economic theory may develop here.

  4. Be thankful that gasoline price has not followed the curve that cigarette prices have. I would bet that taxes account for more than 50% of the price of cigarettes.

  5. I remember gas wars and we would drive to Jackson to buy gas for 20 cents a gallon in the 60s. I always got a 2 cent discount for pulling a trailer and howabout the freebees like an ice tea or fruit juice glass. Some stations would have green stamps and a man could actually make a living running a small gas station.

  6. D. Hoisington (Don) is my Dad. I’ve never seen these photos before. He passed away in 1994. Thank you for recording that time in his history.

    1. Carrie,

      Your Dad was a nice guy. The station was just down the road from The Messenger’s photo lab, so I spent a lot of time there gassing up my car and just generally gassing with the guys.

      I’m sorry to hear that he’s gone.

  7. I once did a story for the Louisville Times (in 1971, I think), during a gas war on Dixie Highway that was between 21, 20, and 19 cents were gallon; at the same time, I compared the gas station giveaways — drinking glasses, barbecue supplies. Remember those? At Ohio U, they didn’t have vending machines with food, but they did have cigarette machines: a quarter a pack.

    1. CT, cheapest gas I ever saw was 19 cents a gallon during a gas war in Cape.

      I was never a smoker, but I can remember Dad sending me in to get him packs of Raleighs for two bits each.

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