The Huxford Oil Company

Turn back time with this 1930s photograph of the novel gas station that once stood on the northwest corner of Government and Dearborn streets.

In 1926, local architect C. L. Hutchisson Sr. designed a novel gas station for the northwest corner of Government Street and Dearborn, next to where the McDonald’s sits today. Commissioned by the Huxford Oil Co. as its second location, this one was especially noteworthy with its ceramic tile shingles and upturned eaves. The spire appears more reminiscent  of a Japanese pagoda, but nevertheless the building became known as the Chinese filling station. The striking edifice eventually became a tire store, lasting through the 1970s. By the 1980s, the adjacent McDonald’s tore it down to make way for expanded parking.

Vintage photo of The Huxford Oil Co. gas station on Government St. In Mobile AL
Photo courtesy Historic Mobile Preservation Society

Through the years

  • The earliest motorists had to take a bucket to places like pharmacies and blacksmith shops to get their fuel. 
  • Later, grocers and other businesses installed street-side pumps for extra income, where cars lined up to refuel, causing traffic jams.
  • By the 1910s, purpose-built filling stations were spreading across the country so motorists could pull off the road for air, water and fuel with an attendant on duty.
  • By 1929, the US census counted 121,513 filling stations nationwide.

Did you know?

The model year of the Studebaker pictured in front. Gayle Motor Co. sold the cars on St. Joseph St. near St. Louis.

Model T Ford
The car pictured at right topped out at 42 miles per hour and was started with a hand crank. 1927 was the last model year after more than 15,000,000 were built and sold.

Dr.’s Coupe
The hard top Model T was so nicknamed because country doctors needed protection from the weather and a trunk to carry their gear when making house calls. 

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The number of gas stations in Mobile in 1922. With the explosion of automobile traffic in that decade, the number had risen to 30 by only 1928.

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