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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Freitag's Pure Oil Service Station

Freitag's Pure Oil Service Station

Freitag's Pure Oil Service Station
1323 Ninth Street, Monroe, Green County
Date of construction: 1935
Designer: Carl August Petersen, Chief Engineer, Pure Oil Company

The Freitag Service Station's steeply pitched roof, varied windows, small scale, and brick construction give the service station a domestic appearance. The design was an attempt to break the stereotype of the service station as an eyesore and to make it an acceptable part of a streetscape. The Pure Oil company also hoped that these franchised stations would be welcomed in residential areas, which it recognized as a growing market as more families acquired automobiles. Through the construction of this standardized design, Pure Oil used gas station design as a corporate symbol and trademark. With its white walls and "Pure Oil Blue" roof tiles, it had a recognized visual identity. Pure Oil was one of the first American corporations to use architecture as a means of advertising and corporate identification. From 1927 through the 1930s, the Pure Oil Company built hundreds of stations identical to this one throughout the country.

The original Pure Oil cottage station contained only an office section. However, it was soon adapted to include a service bay, called a "Lubridome." Freitag's is an example of the full service type.

C.W. (Slim) Freitag built this station for his father at a cost of $16,000 for the building and the land. Slim was a big band trombonist and a pilot who gave flying lessons to several Pure Oil executives. The senior Freitag operated the station until his death. After Union Oil merged with Union 76, Freitag's became a 76 station. The station closed in the late 1970s.

The building is not open to the public, please respect the privacy of its owners.

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