Are We There Yet?
Fill 'er Up: The Evolution of Gas Stations in Wisconsin
The livery stable was a precursor to gasoline and
filling stations, providing all the necessary items
for overland travel, including automotive supplies
and gasoline. The livery stable was not equipped to
handle automotive traffic and was soon replaced by
more convenient alternatives.
This c.1930 "house"-style Sinclair
filling station remains in Janesville,
adjacent to a c.1990 Sinclair
convenience store. Courtesy
of Jim Draeger, personal collection.
The gas station, also called the filling or service
station, developed in the early 20th century to
provide fuel and other automobile products at a
convenient location for the growing number of car
gas station also became a marketing tool in the
fierce competition between independent producers
and the companies of the former Standard Oil Trust,
which monopolized about 85 percent of the total
petroleum market before it was forced to split up
in 1911. Over time the gas station evolved
from a modest shed into a full-scale service station
and eventually the modern convenience station.
Interested in learning more about Wisconsin gas stations? Check out the new Wisconsin Public Television program that looks at vintage gas stations as icons of architecture, economics and pop culture. Fill'er Up: The Glory Days of Wisconsin Gas Stations
is a collaborative effort of the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Public Television.
And watch for the Fill 'er Up Companion Book
from WHS Press by Jim Draeger and Mark Speltz. This book visits 60 Wisconsin gas stations still standing today and will be available in 2008.
These pages were developed as a cooperative project between the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation with assistance from Mead and Hunt.