Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, May 10, 2020, pg. 7
One of Albionís memorable gas stations was the Hi-Speed Gas Station. located on the northeast corner of N. Superior St. and E. Michigan Avenue. Today this is the site of the Citgo gas station/PS Food Mart. This has always been a valuable piece of strategically-located property. In the late 19th century it was the lumberyard of the Parmelee & Sons Planing Mill. Following that, entrepreneur Charles Calhoun Blakeley (1852-1935) purchased the property and began laying foundations for a proposed 10-story hotel. That never saw fruition.
Local businessmen Daniel McAuliffe, Edwin Mounteer, Arthur G. Noble, and Harry R. Richards formed the Albion Garage Sales agency in 1914. They constructed a new brick building on the aforementioned corner, using foundations already laid by Charles Blakeley for his ill-fated hotel project. This firm sold Overland automobiles here throughout the 1910s.
Harry Richards eventually became full owner of the company, which was dissolved in 1921. The Albion Motor Sales replaced it, owned by Richards and a variety of partners. This firm became Albionís Ford dealership. In 1935 it moved across the street to 112 E. Michigan Avenue, in the former Reo garage building. The 1914-erected Overland building was demolished in early 1935 and a Hi-Speed service station was erected in its place.
The Hi-Speed service stations was a chain that operated in Michigan and Ohio, owned by the Hickok Oil Company of Toledo, Ohio. The iconic signature design of all Hi-Speed stations was a high white-glazed brick column tower at the front corner of the building, with the words "HI-SPEED" running vertically down. Albionís Hi-Speed station opened in the summer of 1935, with duo addresses of 302 N. Superior St., or 101 E. Michigan Avenue.
A 1935 advertisement in the Centennial edition of the Albion Evening Recorder stated, "One Stop Ford Neighborhood. Super Hi-Speed Station Offering Complete One Stop Service. Al Smith and Ray Gardner in Charge." The 1937 and 1939 Albion City Directories list Don Pickens (Pickensís Hi-Speed Service) here, featuring "Super Service, washing, greasing, tires, accessories, batteries." The 1941 Directory lists William D. Slaughter (Slaughterís Hi-Speed Service) as "leasee," while the 1944 Directory lists Max Richards and Maurice Cuyler as operating the place.
The Pure Oil Company acquired ownership of the Hi-Speed stations in 1945, and eventually renamed the stations as simply "Pure" during the mid-1950s. The 1948 and 1951 Directories list Maurice Culyer as the proprietor; Kenneth Sykes is listed beginning with 1953. The name "Hi-Speed" is gone from the 1955 Directory and just "Sykeís Service" is listed. "Pure Oil Company, 101 E. Michigan Avenue" is added in the 1957 listing. Weíll stop the history there.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Albionís Hi-Speed Gas Station with its classic design. This photo must have been taken around 1935 when the station was first erected. Notice that the "Service All Cars" with the Ford emblem still remained in place from the era when this location was Albionís Ford dealership. There are also three "stalls" on the right to service autos, and four gas pumps in front. This Hi-Speed gas station was eventually demolished in the 1960s to make way for a new Pure Oil Company station. How many of our readers remember this gas station in Albion?
Albionís Hi-Speed Gas Station
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic