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More memories of York County service stations

The late Jim Goodling, formerly of Dover Twp., took this photo of the former gas station at North Hills Road and Route 30.
The late Jim Goodling, formerly of Dover Twp., took this photo of the former gas station at North Hills Road and Route 30.

I just got my car back from the shop today with a RECORD LOW bill – $26! (It still needs more work, but hey, I’ll take it – thanks to my buddy Steve at TeamOne Auto Group for taking good care of my piece of junk!)

In honor of my car fortune, today I’d like to continue to share memories of local service stations, always a big topic for remembrances!

Previous posts
June 12, 2011: Mail call: Service station memories
June 1, 2012: Mail call: Memories of Stony Brook Garage

I’m more than overdue to share more notes received since I wrote the more recent of those posts a year and a half ago! (And I’ve got some photos from our archives that I hope will spark some more memories, too!)


For my part, let me share that I remember fondly going with my dad to Ralph’s Exxon on the Dover square (where Tom’s is now) on weekends. My dad and Ralph were friends, and Ralph would often turn up a cold drink for me while he and Dad were sitting and visiting. Interestingly, when Ralph closed the Exxon, we then started taking our cars to Dellinger Motors, which at that time was at Carlisle and Harmony Grove roads headed out of Dover borough to the north, only a short distance away, and we would also sit THERE and hang out with Faron, the owner. So as I was reading everyone else’s similar memories, they brought back good feelings for me!

Kathy Campbell-Beaverson wrote, “I remember Kuentzler’s Gulf station at the corner of S. George St. and Boundary Ave. My father was friends with Abe, the owner. Our families would get together and go to the river, on Abe’s boat. His Gulf station was next to the market where I would go every Saturday, with my Nana, Helen Knox. Abe’s Service Station was the best in York!!!!! That’s where we used to buy Gulf Spray for bugs, it was the best!”

Mike King of York asked if anyone remembered his grandfather, John King, who owned King Oil Service on North Beaver Street, which was demolished during the Northwest Triangle building project some years ago.

I also heard from Ilene King, who recalled that a service station we’d previously talked about on North Sherman St. may have been “Rutter’s.” She writes, “Carl Rutter worked there for years; his dad had the place, can’t remember his name. Later they moved to where Al’s service station is now.” Ilene said she’s lived in the Pleasureville area since 1962 and so is quite familiar with these stations!

Ronald Dise shared this image from a postcard of Besser's restaurant and service station south of York.
Ronald Dise shared this image from a postcard of Besser’s restaurant and service station south of York.

Mike Meckley wrote, “My wife’s uncle owned a Gulf gas station in the ’50s which was located on the southwest corner of Phila. and Beaver streets, which is now the White Rose Bar and Grill. He would let family and friends park there to go to Central Market. It was also rumored he ran a bookie joint in the back room. I am sure many people remember this station.”

From frequent correspondent Jim Fahringer, I heard, “I remember the Stony Brook Garage quite well. Actually I lived about 2 miles away from it. It was the closest garage to my house. Sometimes we would even walk to the garage. In those days it was not only a Pontiac Dealership and Service Center but also a full service gas station. We often bought gas there. Also, we would buy some candy inside the service station when we stopped for gas. I do not remember when the garage went out of business but I would guess somewhere in the 1970s. I often visited the station with my mom and dad from 1956 until the garage eventually closed. I used to attend evening Bible school at the Stony Brook Mennonite Church across the street. When Bible school was over, we would cross Route 30 (now 462) and get a soda from the machine at the garage. It was quite a treat. There were no convenience stores, supermarkets or restaurants in the immediate vicinity in those days. A convenience store was not even invented yet. Actually my father’s brother was married to Stuart Strickler Sr.’s sister. Originally the garage was called Strickler’s Garage. Stuart Strickler Jr. eventually took over the garage. I remember when it came time for me to buy my first new car. I saw those wonderful Trans-Am Pontiac sportscars at the garage and I just had to have one. I fully planned to purchase either the candy apple red one or the bright yellow one. Well, I found out that my insurance company considered this car to be a high performance car and I was in that 18-25 year old bracket and the insurance rates were prohibitive. Actually Stuart Strickler got very upset with me because he said I promised that I would buy a car from him and I didn’t. Man, I would still like to have one of those Trans-Ams but alas, no Pontiacs are made anymore. I settled for an inferior car as my first new one – it was a Chevy Malibu and it leaked like a sieve!”

This photo shows the Windsor Service Station sometime in the 1930s with Frederick "Fritz" Frey, left, and one of the original partners at right.
This photo shows the Windsor Service Station sometime in the 1930s with Frederick “Fritz” Frey, left, and one of the original partners at right.

Finally, it sounds like SOMEONE got their fancy car from Stony Brook, at least, Jim; John Loeper writes, “My father told me many times about buying a brand new 1946 Pontiac sedan from the Stony Brook Garage. He told me his old car was worn out but he had to wait until WWII was over and they started making cars again until he could get a new one. I remember him telling me he waited and waited and waited for that Pontiac to come in. It must have been a grand day in our family when it finally did. I was only 1 year old at the time so I don’t recall it myself.”

Thank you all for sharing these memories; please keep them coming! What service stations do you remember in your town?

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