Last week, I posted a photo of a fine-looking old Pure Oil Station, and invited readers to guess the location (see the previous post). After some of you placed it all over town — and even as far away as Collierville — I’m glad to say that the mystery has finally been solved. Robert Stacey and WREG meteorologist Todd Demers determined that this building was once located at the southwest corner of Madison and McLean — pretty much where the patio for Neil’s stands today. I’ve enclosed a recent photo of that corner, so you can get a then-and-now feel. And yes, those tracks in the foreground carried the streetcars down Madison, then south on Cooper and east on Young to the Fairgrounds.
I haven’t been able to dig up much information on this establishment, except to determine that in the late 1930s and early 1940s it was called the Ben-Jep Tire and Battery Company. Old telephone books list the company president as James Hoyle and the vice-president as Thad P. Hicks, so I don’t have the slightest idea who Ben or “Jep” were. Does anyone?