EDITOR’S NOTE:This is the 217th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Time was, not so long ago, when you could pull into your favorite service station, tell the uniformed attendant to “Fill her up!” and then go inside to arrange for getting a brake job or maybe having a new muffler installed.
Gone are the days. Like corner drug stores and neighborhood groceries, auto service stations have vanished from the American landscape.
They’ve been replaced with businesses that have come to be called “convenience stores.” Generally you can still buy gas at them — although you’ll have to pump it yourself. And, of course, you can buy any of a wide variety of snacks and drinks. But they don’t fix flats. If you need any kind of auto repair or maintenance, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to find a repair shop somewhere. Consider, as an example, Gold’s service station, which opened on the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and 8th Street in 1951. For decades, owner-operator Samuel McDowell Gold sold Esso gas and did auto repair work for a legion of loyal customers. In 1972, Standard Oil decided to change the name on its gasoline and so Gold’s Esso became Gold’s Exxon. That was a big change, but a far bigger change was to come.
In 1995, Gold’s son Morgan presided over the conversion of his family’s business from a traditional service station to a convenience store. The lift in the old service bay was torn out, and a new floor put down. The garage doors were removed and replaced with windows.
When it changed over, Gold’s was said to be the last remaining service station in downtown Huntington. Today, its corner location is occupied by a Marathon convenience store.
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