This site went through many phases before becoming one of the Opitz Outlet buildings. It may have been owned by Peter Lyon in 1926.
Although we don’t know the year that the original building was built, a 1962 ad says that the station was established in 1928. This was evidently the site of one of Robert Johnson’s early gas stations; we know that in 1931, Robert Johnson made an addition to his stucco gas station at this site.
From 1938-56 it was owned by George L. Brooks and Robert J. Brooks. It was variously listed as Brooks Service and Hardware (1939-45), Brooks Lunch and Soda Bar (1939), Brooks Sandwich and Coffee Shop (1941), and Brooks Service Station (1942-47). From very early on this was no ordinary gas station. The ad below from 1942 shows that you could get wheat cakes with your gas and oil, an early forerunner of today’s service stations.
A 1945 ad shows three bays and two pumps at the stone gas station building. It was always a Cities Service.
From 1946-47 the station had three pumps. George Brooks apparently closed his restaurant and petitioned to transfer his pinball license to Ray and Arnie’s at 4336 Excelsior on the other end of the block.
In June 1948 George L. Brooks requested a “hawker’s license” to sell pop, popcorn, and sandwiches from a trailer in the street.
In 1949 it was K&R Cities Service, Chuck Kinser, Harold Roberts.
The 1953 Echowan advertised it simply as Cities Service.
The 1956 Echowan advertised this as Brooks Service Station.
In about 1958-60 a new building was built and it became Hamilton’s Cities Service, run by Warren “Bud” Hamilton. Hamilton was in the Optimists Club and in 1959 and 1960 sponsored an Optimists Club Gas Station Day, where club members would wait on customers. Proceeds went to club projects such as the Aquatic Club and bicycle safety.
In 1961 it was Brown’s Cities Service.
In 1962 it was Rudy’s Cities Service: “Established in 1928.”
At one point it was Bob Johnson’s Cities Service.
From 1965 to 1969 the building functioned as an office building.
From 1969 to 1970 it was the Four Flags Restaurant.
From 1971 to 1989 it was Big Hut/Clark’s Submarine Sandwich Shop, owned by Clark Armstead.
From the collection of Mark Youngblood
In the early 1990s, Lindly F. Opitz purchased the property from Armstead and it became part of his Opitz Outlet – for a long time the building still had the green stripe of Cities Service.
In 1994 the underground gas tanks were removed.