Here are some photos of the old sign I captured last weekend (7-24-2004).
The location is Hoover Street at Washington Blvd. just west of
downtown Los Angeles in what was once an industrial corridor.
Some history: when I first saw this triangular service station in 1974 or 75,
it was "$WISE" or "Dollarwise Gasoline" as the phonebook listing had it.
Pumps were very old looking, tall ones, don't remember if they had globes on them still
but definitely an ancient station. Only one of its kind so far as I know.
The station actually weathered the oil shortages of the 70's but by the early 80's
--and here my memory is a bit fuzzy--I think it became a UNITED--once again, our
familiar UNITED OIL of Gardena. In those days, perhaps, UNITED was a brand that
independent stations could use; whatever, after a few years of sales, the owner
of the station "bolted from the herd," and in the great Los Angeles custom,
created his own gasoline brand by changing just one letter on the sign, to UNIFED.
I don't recall seeing any other UNIFED stations around town but perhaps there were some;
it was unusual for UNITED to lose a dealer! (Today I think they own most of their
stations so that ends that!)
Still later, apparently with the big double tank/environmental stuff going on,
the station closed and a strip mall was built in the larger part of the triangle.
However, the spot where the bays were remains dirt; why? polluted underneath?
For some reason, the big sign, which seems made of metal, is also still there,
and in rather good condition too!
Looking eastward; a light pole is casting the shadow.
Looking westward (into the sun), you can get an idea of the triangular lot.
A view of the sign looking westward through the banana trees!
Even in downtown Los Angeles, Yes, we have some bananas!...
Note that the shape of the sign, with the pointy thing at the top and the
bar across it, looks really odd. Almost like "KEYSTONE." An old RIO GRANDE site?
Probably not a ROCKET, despite the dry cleaner's choice of names. The red/white gas price
panel for 3 grades of gas seems to have been added in sometime in the early 80's when
midgrade came on the scene. Anyone recognize the sign from some earlier 50's or 60's brand?
J. Eric Freedner, August 1, 2004.
Gassigns Note: All photos taken by J. Eric Freedner on July 24, 2004.
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