Sunoco Gas Station

The arrow on the station sign says it all; stop here and fill up your vehicle. This particular Sunoco Station built in 1924 and originally from Dayton, Ohio is a relic of the early days of automobile travel. The Sun Oil Company began in 1886 when business partners Edward Emerson and Joseph Newton Pew secured two oil leases near Lima, Ohio and began exploring and drilling for petroleum. In the early days, petroleum was primarily extracted for the purposes of being refined into kerosene, used for heating and light, and oil for machine lubrication. Gasoline, a by-product of kerosene production, was largely ignored in the early days and was primarily sold in local markets to those lucky enough to afford automobiles. However, with the rising popularity and declining cost of automobiles, gasoline production became a hug priority for the company.  

In 1920, the company opened their first gasoline filling station in Ardmore, PA and by the 1950s the Sun Oil Company had expanded to serve national and international demand. What set the Sunoco Stations apart was its “custom blending” pumps, an innovation that, beginning in 1956, allowed customers of Sunoco service stations to choose from several octane grades through a single pump. Sunoco stations offered as many as eight grades of “Custom Blended” gasolines including “Sunoco 260”, a super-premium grade of 102 octane, which was very popular with the 400 horsepower V8 muscle cars of the 1960s. 

The company remains in existence today and is still a player in the retail market. The Sunoco Station here at the museum was acquired from the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois which had it moved from Dayton, Ohio. The station was in pretty bad shape when it arrived here but through meticulous restoration it has been brought back to its former glory.