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Tuesday, December 1st. On this date in 1913, what is today the Gulf Oil Company opened the nation’s first drive-in gas station.

Located at the intersection of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh, the filling station was a simple but pleasing structure, with a cantilevered pagoda-style roof to shelter the pumps, cars and station attendants. Supporting the roof was a storage room and a restroom for staff only.

Before this innovation, gasoline was dispensed from sometimes awkwardly located pumps at such places as grocery and hardware stores, and even some pharmacies.

In the ensuing 107 years, some of this earlier practice has come full circle. Nationwide, there are around 113,000 gas stations today. The vast majority — over 99,000 — are combined with convenience or food mart stores.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at www.census.gov.

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