It’s A Gas ! ! ! !

Last Thursday we left you off at Hank Nesselrode’s gas station that was a 1950s mainstay at the corner of Endor (now Horner Boulevard) and Carthage Streets.  So it seems appropriate that we drop by and continue our travels … this week to some other Sanford gas stations from the past.  Let’s start with a look at the popular Esso station in the 1940s at the corner of Carthage & Steele.

Endor was a 2-lane street that headed north out of town from Rose Street, until it grew into its current 4-lane Horner Boulevard status in the mid-1960s.  Here’s a look at what the street looked like in the 1950s, complete with a gas station right in the foreground.

Like many communities, Sanford had a “gas station row,” where a handful of service stations operated in close proximity to each other.  Here, the go to street for gas in the 1940s and ’50s was Carthage Street.  This picture shows us 3 operators working side-by-side.

It was said that for many locals, visits to gas stations could be a little stressful.  Even though you stayed in your car the whole time (while attendants filled your tank), it was hard not to play favorites.  The last thing a customer wanted to do, was be seen patronizing another gas station. Natives did their best to spread their gas money around. In the 1950s, 502 Carthage Street was the home of this Phillips 66 gas station. Today the Cutting Edge Hair Salon is one of the businesses at that address.

If you lived outside Sanford, you needed to plan your trips to town, or have a good idea where the smattering of service stations were in villages and “out in the country.”  Here’s a look at downtown Broadway, looking south on Main Street in the 1950s, with the town’s Esso station prominently displayed. In many respects, Broadway has done a good job of holding on to its rural charm.

Finally, let’s end our tribute to Lee County gas stations of the distant past, with a visit to one of the very first service stations in the area. The Cox Service Station opened for business on Trade Street in Jonesboro on March 7, 1929. It was owned and operated by Seth T. Cox, and was the starting point for other ventures initiated by Cox family members over the years, here in Lee County.

Editorial content, pictures and research background, compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase.

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