The year is 1966; the place is Rochester, Minn., a small Midwestern city served by 77 filling stations. As one pulls into the station, a car-crazy teenage attendant in a blue shirt with his name above one pocket and Apco, D-X or Deep Rock above the other, offers to filler ‘er up and wash the windshield.
Soon, his equally car-crazy buddies start hanging out. Pop is 10 cents, candy bars a nickel. The station has become part of their social life. They talk cars to the on-duty mechanic who learned his trade in the U.S. Army, being careful to not get in his way. He races at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds on Sunday nights.
Teenagers grow up, making way for the next wave of the car-crazy culture, but lessons learned over a bottle of orange soda and the smell of high-octane gas will never be matched in today’s self-serve, pay-at-the-pump world.
“Lens on History” is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.