The 1939 Pure Oil Station on Front Street



c869/1242669446-pure-station-1935.jpg In the September issue of Memphis magazine, I tell the compelling story of the little green cottage on South Front Street, which opened in 1939 as a Pure Oil Station (above). The building went through many owners over the years, and is now the property of a nice fellow named Kris Kourdouvelis, who lives next door and uses the old gas station for storage.

Yesterday I received an email from a Memphian named Kenneth Pasley, whose uncle was the original owner of that station. Here’s what Kenneth had to say about it:

"I worked at that station for my uncle, William Willingham, from 1956 to 1966, when I graduated from CBU. My uncle Bill owned the station from about 1938 to 1970, when he retired and closed it. During the war, Bill’s younger brother Tommy left school early every day and ran the station. When Bill returned home from France, in 1945, Tom spent time in the Army Air Corps, then moved to Walls, Mississippi, and opened a Pure Oil Station on Highway 61, just north of Twinkle Town Airport. Henry Halbert may have owned the little station in question before Uncle Bill, but he did not own it after 1938. Henry Halbert ran the Pure Oil Service station at 836 South Third (Third & Iowa), when my other uncle, Reggie Willingham, went into the Army Air Corps. Reggie took the station back over when he returned from the war. Henry then went on to open “Halbert’s Auto Supply”.

Thanks for the additional information, Kenneth.


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