Tankar Stations
VARIOUS LOCATIONS:
755 - 25th Street, Newport News, VA 23607
Jefferson Avenue, Newport News, VA
Pembroke Avenue, Hampton, VA
37th Street and Hampton Boulelvard, Norfolk, VA

09/27/04 09/27/04
THEN: NOW: THEN: NOW: THEN: NOW:
     
Portsmouth Boulevard
in Truxton,
Portsmouth, VA
  High Street,
Portsmouth, VA
  37th Street and Hampton Boulelvard, Norfolk, VA  
Courtesy of Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 05/27/10
Thanks, Eric!
  Courtesy of Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 05/27/10
Thanks, Eric!
  Courtesy of Rob Stanton
of VA - 07/13/12
Thanks, Rob!
 

A model railroad version:

- Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 05/27/10
Thanks, Eric!

Hey, I just thought of a gas station that was near a junk yard (both now gone) called Tankar Gas. 
It had a railroad tank car on the roof... remember that? 
It was during the day when city ordinances weren't strict about signs or displays and
you could have animated or blinking marquees as well as unusual signage.

- Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 09/24/04

Tankar Gas, hmmm?  It sounds cool, but reminds me of the lyrics of "Once Upon a December":  "…things I almost remember…".

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/24/04



I do remember Tankar Gas, but will need a minute to remember where it was located.
As I followed Eric's earlier message, about BeLo, Rich's,
(Mr. Jimmy Rich owned Grocery Stores and then opened a chain of fast food restaurants, serving chicken)
that were located on 39th Street, near the intersection of Marshall Avenue in Newport News, VA.
Also next to them was the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company Complex for Residential Phones,
and a lighting store owned by Mr. Fred Christy.
I do not remember the name of his firm. I think the Tankar Gas Station was on Jefferson Avenue,
near the 39th Street Bridge, between 38th Street and 39th Street.
Nice brain drain.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 09/24/04

Incredible, Joe!  You never cease to amaze me with your near total recall.  Thanks, Adonis!

How neat!  Yes, the gas station was near the bridge on Jefferson Avenue, and later a Robo Car Wash was placed there.

- Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 09/24/04
Thanks, Eric!



Yes, there were Tankar Stations all around the Peninsula.
And indeed, atop their small building was a "Tankar Car" to be taken as the real thing.
Those were the days that "gas station attendants" still existed and would come provide the service, plus!,
that we all do ourselves in this day and time.
I remember one on Pembroke Avenue down a bit toward NN from Shoney's.
I also think there was one at 25th and Marshall?
 
I clearly remember that they carried "bulk oil" (reprocessed) in bottles for 20 cents a quart.
Rip (Collins - '65 of TN) can tell ya that I'm not kidding when I say I would pull up to these places
and tell the attendant to "fill the oil with the 'bulk' and check the gas"!
I got about 4 stations to the quart of oil with that old '54 hand brush painted Plymouth.
It beat walking, barely.

- Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 09/26/04
Thanks, Wayne!

Joe Madagan is correct about the gas station.
I worked at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company storeroom at 930-39th Street
from 1967 - 1973 when I was in line crew and then a residential installer.

- Dave Arnold ('65) of VA - 09/26/04
Thanks, Dave!

Although feeble of mind, I can actually be of assistance with respect to the Tankar Service Station.
It was located in the 700 block of 25th Street, on the west side of the street and one building away from Madison Avenue.
That building was also a service station, but memory fails me as to brand.
Directly across Madison, on the west side, was an Amoco station.
During WWII my father operated the Amoco station, so actual memory of it is nonexistent.

The Tankar Station is another story. The station was managed and operated by my uncle, Paul Helfrich,
who was the brother of my mother and father of my first cousin and classmate, Gertrude (Helfrich - '62)
(she is married, by the way, to Ricky Hedrick. I noticed sometime back that a former wife was searching for him.)
Adjacent to and attached to the left side of the Tankar Station was a small used car lot named, appropriately, Parker's Auto Sales.
You can guess whose father that was.
Time frame, as best I can remember, is mid '50s to early '60s.

Oh, by the way, the station was built into the side of the tank car. The tank car was not on top of it.

I'll try hard to remember another Tankar station located somewhere other than 25th Street. 
I don't deny another one on 39th Street, so there may well have been one there as well.

- Jimmy Parker ('62) of VA - 09/26/04

OHHHH, Jimmy, when you said that the station was built INTO the tank car rather than sitting underneath,
I suddenly had a clear vision of it!  And I'm seeing the one on 25th Street, too!   WOWZERS!!! 
It's just a little memory, and I never even got out of my mama's car there, but I'm so happy to have it return! 
The name of the station was mounted atop the tank car in free-standing red block capital letters, was it not? 
Ohhh, yeah, I remember it now!  I thought the whole concept was so clever!
Thanks for restoring yet another lost memory to me.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/27/04



Now that I think about it, I do believe Jimmy (Parker - '62 of VA) to be correct!
It was NOT on top but was indeed "built into", to convey that "clever concept". 
But I do stand by my Pembroke Avenue station!
Take Care!

- Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 09/27/04
Thanks, Wayne!

Carol .... in reference to the Tankar page, the address for the downtown NN one was 755 - 25th Street.
I found no listing for any others in either the 52 or 60 city directories.
Tankar was based in Virginia and yes, the marketing niche was building the station
into the side of an actual tank car, but early stations were not built that way.
I have pictures of one in Lynchburg without the tank, and ones in Norfolk and Portsmouth with.
Unfortunately I have none from the Peninsula.

- Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 12/28/04
Awww... Thanks anyway, Tom!
 

I never saw any photo follow up about Tankar Gas Stations but here (above) are a couple of pictures
of one that stood in Portsmouth so gives an idea of what the Newport News one looked like.

- Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 05/27/10
Thanks so much, Eric!

I was shocked and happy to see the images of the Tankar Stations in Portsmouth, VA on your website when I did a Bing Search....

I wanted to let you know I worked at both locations which are pictured.....the one in color was on Portsmouth Boulevard
in Truxton and the one in black and white was on High Street.....I also worked at the Robo Car wash
which was next to the High Street station.

Although I was a Portsmouth resident and went to Churchland High School (62 grad) I have enjoyed your page
which I first discovered when I was looking for memories of
WGH and other radio stations I listened to
as a teen and where I got my training for my radio career.

If anyone has a photo of the old WKLX studios at Craney Island I would love to see that as well as photos
of WFOG and WLPM in Suffolk. I trained at WKLX and worked at the Suffolk stations...

Thanks for a lot of shared memories.

- Gene Davis, WNCO AM/ WNCO FM, Mansfield/ Ashland, Ohio - 09/06/11
Thank you so much, Gene!

I was checking on some family things this afternoon on the internet and came across your site, particularly the old photos and memories of the Tankar Gas Stations. My grandfather, B.M. Stanton, was the owner of the stations and developed the idea of using the rail car as the station’s office. He sought locations that were adjacent to rail spurs, and had quite of few marketing gimmicks that he thought would be good for business. One was to give away free bars of Ivory soap to customers who bought a certain number of gallons of gas. This was great until he realized that the customers got offended because the station attendants were implying that the customers’ personal hygiene was lacking. When my father and brother cleaned out the old company warehouse a year or so ago, they found boxes and boxes of Ivory soap stuffed away on the shelves.

Another marketing idea was a gift with purchase…the gift being a glass piggy bank in the shape of a Tankar. I have attached a photo of the bank…..I would be interested in buying any Tankar Station items or photos that can be located….along with another late 40’s photo of the Tankar Station being built at 37th Street and Hampton Boulelvard in Norfolk. The masonry block building would be the Company’s HQ and warehouse until the 70’s, when it was relocated to Northampton Boulevard in Virginia Beach.

The Tankar Stations were closed to make way for ROBO Car Washes at many of the locations, which continued to be operated by my father and brother until a year or so ago. My brother still owns the car wash on Pembroke Avenue near Buckroe Beach.



Thanks for the memories.
- Rob Stanton of VA - 07/13/12
Thanks so much, Rob!
 



Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station

- Frank Zappa
 

This here song might offend you some
If it does, it's because you're dumb
That's the way it is where I come from
If you've been there too, let me see your thumb

Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)
Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)

Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)
Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)

Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)
Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)

Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)
Let me see your thumb
(Ah, let me see your thumb)

Show me your thumb if you're really dumb
Show me your thumb if you're really dumb
Show me your thumb if you're really dumb
Show me your thumb if you're dumb

Hey now, better make a decision
Be a moron and keep your position
You oughta know now all your education
Won't help you no-how, you're gonna . . .

Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station

Pumpin' the gas every night
Pumpin' the gas every night
Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station

Pumpin' the gas every night
Pumpin' the gas every night
Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station

Manny de Camper vants to buy some vite
(Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station)
(Fish!)
Manny de Camper vants to buy some vite
(Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station)
(Fish!)
Manny de Camper vants to buy some vite
(Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station)
(Fish!)
Manny de Camper vants to buy some vite
(Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station)
(Fish!)

Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station
Wind up workin' in a gas station

 

Gas Station

- John Mayer
 

"Welcome to the real world,"
She said to me, condescendingly.
"Take a seat, take your life ...
Plot it out in black and white"
Well, I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
And the drama queens.
I'd like to think the best of me
Is still hiding up my sleeve.

They love to tell you "stay inside the lines",
But something's better on the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school,
I wanna scream at the top of my lungs.
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above.

So the good boys and girls take the so-called right track,
Faded white hats grabbing credits and maybe transfers.
They listen to Phish but they can't find the answers.
And all of our parents, they're getting older --
I wonder if they've wished for anything better,
While in their memories, tiny tragedies.

They love to tell you "stay inside the lines",
But something's better on the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school,
I wanna scream at the top of my lungs.
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above.

I am invincible
You are invincible
We are invincible
As long as we're alive
We're alive...alive

See this shirt I'm wearin'?
Used to wear it all the time.
Workin' at a gas station,
Dreamin' about the sensation, of playin' for you, playin' for me.
Yeah, I gave the wrong change all the time --
Always ate the ho-ho's without payin a dime.
What they don't tell you is, you'll get a spare tire in time.
But I digress.
See I'm wearing that same shirt I wore back then.
And now I'm on stage playing for all yall.
What does that say to you?

Maybe one day I'll go back.
Maybe one day
It'll be some special promotional thing
When you fill up with at least eight gallons.
You get a special John Mayer CD sampler,
With a version of this song on it.

Don't apply theory to things
That inherently don't need theory at all.
Don't...

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
just a lie you've got to rise above

I just can't wait till my ten year reunion
I'm gonna bust down the double doors
and when I stand on these tables before you
you will know what all this time was for

ha-ha Thank you very much

"Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" lyrics courtesy of
http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/frank_zappa/wind_up_workin_in_a_gas_station.html - 09/27/04


"Gas Station" lyrics courtesy of http://www.lyricsondemand.com/j/johnmayerlyrics/gasstationlyrics.html# -
09/27/04
 


[Page created 09/27/04 at the suggestion of Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 09/24/04]


Chain Link clip art courtesy of http://pub29.bravenet.com/resources/clipart - 08/08/03

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