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Columns

Picturing the Past With ... the Geneva History Museum

Beginning in the 1920s, service stations began popping up along the main streets of Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles.

The Pure Oil Gasoline and Service Station building at 502 W. State St. in Geneva was built in 1937 by August Wilson, a local general contractor also known for constructing Geneva’s City Hall and many commercial buildings along State Street.

The Pure Oil building was in the company’s trademark English-cottage style, a “home-like” design that was a major change from the prefabricated metal designs of most other gas stations.

By the late 1980s, these buildings and their history began to disappear or be repurposed, changing the landscape of most main streets.

In 2012, Geneva’s Pure Oil building was repurposed as a drive-thru bank. It was subsequently recognized on the National Register of Historic Places and received a city of Geneva Historic Preservation Award.

To learn more about the history of service stations in the Tri-Cities, join us at the Geneva History Museum, 113 S. Third St., at noon Feb. 13 for a Brown Bag collaborative presentation with the Batavia Depot Museum and St. Charles History Museum. To register for this program visit www.GenevaHistoryMuseum.org.

Pictured: 502 W. State St., circa 1950s.

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