Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you have an ancestor whose career tells the history of an industry?

Charles E. Barnhart (1913-2004) poses for a photo at the Neiman-Marcus store in Dallas, Texas, on October 4, 1958. Charles was married to Velma Moree Pierce (1913-1993), daughter of N.B. "Bonie" and Julia Moody Pierce.

Charles had apparently been in town for a football game. On the back of the photo the score was recorded as "SMU 6 vs ND 14." Charles worked football games as part of his job as a sound engineer with CBS radio.

Charles led an interesting career working for WBBM radio, the CBS station in Chicago. He began his career in the early days of commercial radio in 1931 and joined WBBM 10 years later. Below is an article about Charles written by Jay Grelen in The Mobile Press Register in February 1996.

Do you have an ancestor whose career tells the history of an industry?

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Pumps, Tires and Automobiles Kept Our Ancestors' Lives Rolling

I'm fascinated by how many of my ancestors were connected with gasoline service stations or other auto service businesses. The industry provided them good livings or got them started in life.

The above photo of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce's new gas station and convenience store in Mobile, Ala., was probably taken shortly after it opened in 1940. Bonie called his business The Reservoir Inn because it was located across the street from the historic Bienville Reservoir, actually not more than a raised pond used for water storage.

The store on the north side of Moffett Road near Forest Hill Drive sold Sinclair gasoline. The little sign on the right pump warns that Sinclair HC contains lead. The pump on the left must have pumped unleaded gas.

On the front of the Inn are signs for Opaline motor oil, a Sinclair product. Barely visible on the right side of the photo is a sign for Quaker State Motor Oil.

With the U.S. entry into World War II on Dec. 7, 1941, service stations such as this one would feel the effects of a shortage of rubber and gasoline. The federal government ordered nationwide gas rationing to begin on Dec. 1, 1942.

The Reservoir Inn survived the war and for many years afterward.

Do you have ancestors who were connected with the auto service industry?