When Gas Was a Quarter and Mechanics Filled Your Tank

Part of the historical photos collection of the Jefferson County Library shows service stations from the 60s. There were no coffee machines inside but there were mechanics on duty.

Back in the middle of the 20th Century you could fill up your vehicle's gas tank much more cheaply, usually with a five-dollar bill. There was no coffee or slushy machine inside the gas station office, and there were no lottery tickets for sale, but there were mechanics who could check your battery or your tires and usually they emerged from the office when you pulled in the station and pumped you gas for you.

Some of those scenes are available for viewing in the 's historical photograph collection, recently made available and shared on Flickr, the popular photo-sharing service.The wide range of photographs offer a compelling look at how Jefferson County residents lived and worked in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Currently, the library collection features more than 300 photographs. They are arranged in sixty-eight sets. The images showcase the rich legacy of Jefferson County towns, schools, churches, organizations, and agricultural heritage.

And service stations. Today's Patch gallery features a few of those images, recalling a time when there wasn't as much "convenience" at the gas station, but the staff could probably fix your car if you were  broken down.

“People enjoy viewing historical photos of their home town,” explained Christine Merseal, Genealogy Library Specialist of the Northwest Branch, in a news release from the library. ”Individuals have donated these photographs over the years to the library. Local historian Della Lang, has been a major contributor. She has donated wonderful images of the past. The library has also obtained photos from patrons who have one or two pictures of their ancestor in front of a one-room school house or a photograph of their family farm.”

The Special Collection at the Northwest Branch is seeking additional photographs to add to its online collection on Flickr. A signed release of any photograph donated is required. To donate, or for more information, contact Merseal at 636-677-8186 or at cmerseal@jeffcolib.org.


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