Old Town Tustin had 10 service stations
including Tustin Service on the curve at
First and D in the days when Highway 101
was the main route between Los Angeles
and San Diego
I was surprised the other day
to see Old Town Tustin's last remaining gasoline
station at the corner of A and First shuttered
with a high fence surrounding it.
Tustin once had 10 service
stations and gas stations on the
less-that-2-mile strip of Highway 101 passing
through the community. The Tustin Garage, now a
barbecue restaurant, was the first business
serving motorists. Originally opened by Will
Huntley and Nick Gulick in 1915, at the corner
of Third and C, it later moved to D (El Camino
Real) and 6th. The original owners eventually
retired, but the business survived into the
Fifty-plus years ago motorists
approaching Tustin on Highway 101 from Santa Ana
first encountered Park's Texaco station at First
and Tustin avenues. Two blocks later, at First
and Mountain View, they found Case's Smiling
Associated station operating cheek to jowl with
Jerome Kidd's automotive repair shop.
If they passed both of these
opportunities to fill their tanks, they could
stop three block farther east at Becker's
Garage. This enterprise advertised Ford V-8 and
Mercury affiliations in addition to gasoline,
oil, general repairs, tires, batteries and
Bristow's Signal originally
anchored the curve onto D Street from First, but
the business became Tustin Service when Kenneth
Cawthon bought it in the early '30s and switched
to Mobil Oil. When Harry Holmes took over the
business in the 1940s, he kept the Tustin
Three blocks south at Third
Street, Carson and Golding offered tire
recapping, tires, lubes, batteries and Shell
gasoline. A Gilmore station occupied the
southwest corner at Main Street Oscar Leihy, who
started with a bicycle shop on the north side of
Main between C and D, eventually serviced
The Tustin Garage, as already
mentioned, was in business at D and 6th. A
Chevron station occupied the D Street curve into
Laguna Road, and a Signal station pumped gas a
short block later at Newport.
Amazingly, all 10 stations and
garages managed to stay in business for many
years. In these years before self-service,
customers got the full treatment. No motorist
drove away with just gasoline. Each car received
oil, radiator and tire checks as well as a
sparkling clean windshield and windows. Local
high school boys were hired to provide this
level of service.
Stations and garages remained
in the same locations, but the owners and
gasoline providers changed from time to time.
Becker's Garage was sold to Console & Sisson.
Later Kidd's Garage moved into the building.
The Gilmore station in the
heart of Old Town eventually was converted to
General Petroleum products and renamed Daniel's
Mobil. L. L. Hood, who originally owned the
Signal station at Laguna Road and Newport,was
bought out by Austin Pierson. Frank Greinke's
company later occupied the premises.
Progress means drivers now
pump their own gas, while once they remained
seated as others hurried to wait on them .