“You Can Get That Famous Marathon Gasoline in Oak Cliff” — 1930

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_smithsonian_1930Somewhere in Oak Cliff, 1930, via Smithsonian Inst.

by Paula Bosse

Rejoice, Oak Cliff residents of 1930: you’re getting five Marathon gas stations! I’m not sure why these stations were only in Oak Cliff and no other part of Dallas, but they were (a sixth station joined this elite group a year or so later).

I have a fascination with old gas stations, but I have to admit I’m not familiar with Marathon Gasoline or Marathon Oil products or the Transcontinental Oil Co. (they  had a refinery in Fort Worth), but for whatever reason, the Marathon stations in Dallas — all emblazoned with an image of the Greek runner Pheidippides — appear to have faded away by about 1942 when I guess the last straggler finally crossed the finish lane, collapsed, and died. Farewell, Pheidippides.

The photo above shows one of those first 5 stations in Dallas. The location is not specified. 

Marathon stations in the O.C. in 1930:

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_050430_ad_det

  • No. 1: Jefferson & Llewellyn Sts. (539 W. Jefferson)
  • No. 2: Zangs Blvd. & Beckley Ave. (1111 N. Zang)
  • No. 3 Jimtown Rd. & Montreal Ave. (2120 W. Clarendon Dr.) (in 1931, residents petitioned the city to change the name of the street to “Clarendon” because they thought “Jimtown” was too déclassé)
  • No. 4: Zangs Blvd. & Davis St. (137 W. Davis — this was the station that lasted the longest, appearing to have closed by the time the 1942 city directory was published)
  • No. 5: Polk & Davis Sts. (938 W. Davis)
  • (No. 6: 1804 W. Jefferson)

It doesn’t look like any of the old buildings are still standing, but there IS one of the exact same design still standing in Miami, Oklahoma — a group restored it and even added period gas pumps (which someone later stole) — see it below. 

marathon-station_miami-okla_google-street-view_2016Miami, OK, Google Street View July 2016

Not all of the Dallas stations had the same design — a press release describes the stations of possessing “distinctive architecture.” Another of the Oak Cliff locations looked very different (and certainly more distinctive):

marathon_station_oak-cliff_1930
Somewhere in Oak Cliff, 1930

The one above is the same design seen in this local ad:

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_042730-adApril 1930

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_050430_adMay 1930

marathon_rec_ebay

marathon_ebay

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the American Petroleum Institute Photograph and Film Collection, National Museum of American History, Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution — more info can be found here.

I seem to post a lot about gas stations. Here are a few notable posts:

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_smithsonian_1930_sm

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