In case you didn’t know it December 1st marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the first dedicated drive-in gas station in the United States by the Gulf Oil Company. This first “drive-in” gas station was located on the corner of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in an area of the city known as “automobile row” because of the number of automobile dealerships located nearby. Previous to that date if you needed gas for your Harley, Indian, or Excelsior you had to find a local business like a hardware store or even a pharmacy that had a gas pump in front of it. These pumps were usually curbside so they presented a traffic hazard for moving vehicles and those pumping the gas where-as the Gulf Oil station gave drivers the convenience of having the pumps away from the street and, something seldom seen now-a-days, an attendant to fuel the vehicles. The pagoda-style building offered a canopy to shelter employees, a storage room, and one employee only restroom. Gulf soon saw the advantages of having “Free Restrooms” for its customers. On the first day of operation the station sold 30 gallons of gasoline at 27 cents per gallon, then on its first Saturday the new service station pumped 350 gallons of gasoline. BTW it wasn’t until 1919 that gasoline surpassed kerosene as the highest selling petroleum product. How things have changed.
Source: IronWorks Blog