Pop Arnold's Esso Station
25th Street and Oak Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607

03/24/08 03/24/08



My Dad's Esso Station taken prior to the
remodeling done in 1953
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Images by Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA
"Yes, Ma'am.  Could I fill it up for you?"

I wish I had a dollar for every time I said that to a customer, or a nickel for every gallon of gasoline I pumped. 

When Pop sold the station and retired in 1970 Esso Extra (high test) was 31.9 cents per gallon.  And people complained every time they drove in.  Regular was still considered a bargain at 20.9. 
And for those prices you sat in the car while the crew pumped the glass, cleaned all the windows, checked under the hood and swept the inside of the car. 

Ahh, the good old days.
Elsewhere on this site I have explained that I am a "Then & Now" addict. So, when I had the opportunity to image the Arnold Esso station after some 50 years, I could not resist. Yet, it was a sad task as the station has metamorphosed into something altogether different than the neighborhood filling station that Dave Arnold remembers so fondly.

It appears now to be abandoned, like many old neighborhood stations, victims of the self service megapumps and the WAWAs and the 7-11s. We always seem so surprised and so saddened that everything changes, but when and where has anything ever stayed exactly as it was? We haven't stayed locked in time, so why should we expect the structures of our youth to be any different? Sometimes it is better not to go back and have a look.

- Dave Arnold ('65) of VA - 05/12/03
Thanks, Dave!

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 07/30/03
Thanks, Dave!

To Dicky Dawes (NNHS/HHS - '62) of VA:

You mentioned in the newsletter on January 7, 2006, that you "started your teen years in the 1300 block of 25th Street."
You probably knew my father, Pop Arnold, who owned the Esso station at 1300 25th Street. That was a great neighborhood.


- Dave Arnold ('65) of VA - 01/10/06
Thanks, Dave!

Dave Arnold ('65) of VA:

Dave, not only do I remember your dadís ESSO station but I remember you, as a youngster. I mentioned you to my mother
(Estelle) and she remembered you also. She is 86 (what a mind). You see, I lived just down the block at 1330 25th Street.
The house has since been destroyed. We lived just across the street from Doug and Wayne Johnson. We moved in the
year the station was renovated. I believe that I was in the third grade.

When we first moved in, I didnít like going down to the station, I was so young and the only time I was allowed to go
there was to get a two gallon can full on Kerosene. At that time, I remember, it was 14 cents a gallon. The can was
so heavy for me that I had to stop every few feet to set it down and rest. But we had to have it for heat.

What great times I had there as I got older - going out back of the station and draining a bunch of old oil cans into an empty,
to get oil that I could use on my bicycle and lawn mower. I spent my time between Pops ESSO and Bun's Texaco on the
corner of 25th and Parish Avenue. There were some horse shoe pits behind Bun's and some of us boys spent
many, many hours there pitching. All of the bad guys hung around Bun's with their fast hot rods, while your dad's
station catered to a different clientele.

I really liked your dadís station because it was a little higher class station, especially after the remodeling.
I hung around there to the point that whoever was in charge would sometimes run me off. I became quite
knowledgeable in auto mechanics by getting such a good base of knowledge from watching and listing to the "Experts".
There was a garage behind your station that I just loved to hang around. If you remember they built "Stock Cars" there.
One that I remember and watched being built and painted was a number 23D. I watched in amazement as this guy
(who would now be call a graphic artist) painted the numbers on it in such a way that it represented "3D" which was just
coming out in the movies at that time. Also, there was a family at, I think, 1324 25th Street, who also had a garage
behind their house where they were always working on a race car. This is where I learned how to weld as a youngster.
For the life of me I canít remember their name, but the father also was a CRT bus driver until the "Strike". During the strike
they would have movies at their house (with popcorn) and charge 10 to 15 cents a person just to help pay the bills.

Donít know if you were old enough to remember that there was a "Race Track" on Chestnut Avenue on the north edge
of Copeland Park. It was a short dirt track, which went out of business when Langley Speedway opened. This is where
most of the back yard stock cars ran. The old track had lots of holes in it.

Iíll stop here. I could go on for hours about the neighborhood: Roger's, Dick's Bar, the grocery store on the corner, and
even the old yellow house where this old lady would come out a yell at any kid who just walked by on the side walk
in front of her house. Man, she was frightening.

God bless.


- Richard Dawes (NNHS/HHS - '62) of VA - 01/12/06
Thanks, Dicky!

To Dave Arnold ('65) of VA:

Thanks for the step back to Stuart Gardens...my dad worked full time at NASA (f/k/a NACA) and part time for your dad. 
I remember going to the station and getting the classic Moon Pie!  What a treat.

- Lydia Powell Mugler ('58) of VA - 01/12/06
Thanks, Lydia!

I remember putting $0.50 in my sister's Renault Dauphine and driving for hours! Not to mention using it to take
the driver's license on the road test ... I would never have passed the driver's test if I had to parallel my dad's
'59 Plymouth which was about 25 feet long!!

- Alice Fowler Edwards ('64) of VA - 01/12/06
Ahhh - the Good Old Days!  GIGGLES!  Thanks, Alice!


   - My Friend, Judy, of IL - 09/10/05
GIGGLES!  Thanks, Judy!

See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet

(Dinah Shore)

See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet.
America is asking you to call.
Drive your Chevrolet through the U.S.A.
America's the greatest land of all.

On a highway or a road along a levee:
Performance is sweeter, nothing can beat 'er,
Life is completer in a Chevy.
So make a date today to see the U.S.A.
And see it in your Chevrolet.

Travelin' east or travelin' west,
Wherever you go, Chevy service is best.
Southward or north, near place or far,
There's a Chevrolet dealer for your Chevrolet car.

See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet.
The Rockies way out west are calling you.
Drive your Chevrolet through the U.S.A.,
Where waving fields of wheat pass in review.

Whether Trav'ling light or with a load that's heavy:
Performance is sweeter, nothing can beat 'er,
Life is completer in a Chevy.
So make a date today to see the U.S.A.
And see it in your Chevrolet.

"See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet" wav courtesy of http://commercials.wavethemes.net/autos.html
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs of VA - 12/10/03
Thanks, Dave!

"See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet" lyrics courtesy of http://home.att.net/~blackcatter/tv/dinah.htm
also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs of VA - 12/10/03
Thanks again, Dave!

Wrench Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://pub29.bravenet.com/resources/clipart/index.php?search=category&category=12&cp=29 - 08/08/03

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