Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vanished Rochester: Oak Gas Station

Today there are just three gasoline stations in the city of Rochester, but over the years there have been several of them along Main St. The one that I patronized after I learned to drive was the Oak gas station on the east side of North Main at Paint Creek, now the location of the Atallah Heart Center.
The property had been part of the D.U.R. power house and car barn site until the early 1930s, and in late 1939, Royal Oak entrepreneur Jacob J. “Jake” Levy bought the land to build another retail outlet for his Oakland County Gas & Oil Company. He built the modest service station and held a grand opening for his eighth Oak gas outlet on May 25, 1940. His opening special was eight gallons of gas for $1, plus a two-pound bag of Domino sugar as a premium. Newspaper advertisements for the new station boasted “You get what you were promised – and more! Jake always keeps his word!”
By the time I started buying gas, you couldn't get two gallons for a dollar, let alone eight, but Oak gas was always a penny or two cheaper than the rest. Although it had no frills, the Oak station offered full service right up until its last day of business, even though by then most stations were beginning the transition to self-serve pumps. The accompanying photo was taken in the early 1980s after the station had closed. It was razed to make way for construction of the Atallah Heart Center building, which opened at 610 North Main in 1986.

Photo: If you think there's something strange about this photo, you're right! It's a composite of two photos - I had one of the building and another of the sign, but I can only insert one image per post here, so I cropped the sign from one and merged it with the other to make one composite image. I'm not generally in favor of altering photos, so I'll always tell you when I've created a composite due to space considerations.

1 comment:

  1. I take care of my 84yo great uncle who's had a stroke and "test" his memory if he can recall this gas station... "You mean The OAK?...Yah...Good Ole Jake" he always replys."Never left there with JUST gas...Always given away something" He told me.:)