Gilmore gas stations were prevalent in western U.S. into the 1940s

(December 27, 2023) This picture of a Gilmore Blu-Green gas station in California was taken around 1920. The Gilmore Oil Company was an independent oil company in California founded by Arthur Fremont Gilmore after he struck oil on his dairy farm in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles around 1903.

His son, Earl Bell Gilmore, took over the family business and expanded its distribution network which, at its peak, operated over 3,000 gas stations on the West Coast.

E.B. Gilmore’s flair for promotion made his gas stations a popular part of the western landscape. “Blu-Green” gas, the famous “Red Lion” logo, “Gas-a-terias” (the first self-serve stations offering a discount for those who pumped their own), and radio jingles which people hummed, were examples of his successful promotions.

The clear glass globes at the top of gas pumps allowed the color of the gasoline to be seen. E.B. Gilmore jumped on this unique opportunity to become the first oil company to market its gas by its color. Blu-Green and Red Lion Gas fueled the cars and imaginations of West Coasters from the ’20s to the early ’40s.

In the 1940s, 75% of the shares in the oil company were acquired by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and it was then merged into that group which became Mobil.