At the beginning of the 20th century, most travelers still relied on horse-drawn transportation. Cars were expensive to produce, and roads were often too rough for long distance drives. After Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in 1913, autos like the Model T became more affordable, and more Americans became motorists. As roads were paved and automobile trips became increasingly common, gas stations began to appear along highways. Charging about 23 cents per gallon, these stations allowed travelers to take longer road trips.
This gas station was originally built in 1927 at the corner of Market and Julian Streets in San José. It was part of a chain of Associated Oil Company stations owned by J.R. Chace. In 1930, Max Rosenthal bought the station and put up a garage nearby, although he continued to sell Associated Oil Company products. Rosenthal sold the station to Guy C. Brouse in 1945, who owned it until 1971.
The Associated Oil Company station closed due to rising gas prices casued by the oil crisis of the early 1970s. It remained vacant for several years, and was scheduled to be demolished. In 1978, the San José Historical Museum rescued the gas station and moved it to History Park.
View archival images of Associated Oil service stations from History San José’s Collection.