Miami Marathon Oil Company Service Station
The Miami Marathon Oil Company Service Station is located at 331
South Main St. in Miami, OK. Call 918-541-1615 for
A Greek temple
with motor oil on the floor? A service station that’s mostly
porch? A house with gas pumps out front instead of rocking
chairs? Take your pick. The Miami Marathon Station is a little
of each. The building is significant as a fine example of the
Neoclassical Revival style “house with canopy” gas station and
for the role it played in commerce along Route 66.
Miami, Oklahoma old Route 66 ran right down Main Street where
the station still occupies a corner lot. This location allowed
convenient automobile access and increased visibility from a
distance during the years when Route 66 became the nation’s
major east-west artery.
Transcontinental Oil built the
station in 1929 and a local family leased it for $40 a month.
Marathon Oil soon acquired Transcontinental and, before long,
the station sported the Marathon Oil Company emblem, the Greek
runner Pheidippides. Because Pheidippides was the original
marathon man, the company’s slogan, “Best in the long run,” was
a natural choice.
Perhaps to complement the Greek runner
on the station’s signage, the building used the Neoclassical
Revival style. The exterior of the front gabled square building
of white glazed brick has a full height portico held up by
massive classical columns. The building is like a small Greek
temple with a triangular pediment fronting the carport and crown
molding over the door. Buzzing light bulbs lit the bay, six down
each side and five in the front, their weak, yellow light
guiding motorists in out of the night. Even in the 1930s, when
canopies like the one in Miami fell out of favor in much of the
country, they remained popular in the Southwest because they
provided daytime protection from the harsh sun.
porch-like canopy and homey design of the station suggested a
haven to early motorists as they traveled the Mother Road. Oil
companies used domestic designs to fit comfortably within
adjacent residential neighborhoods, and small stations like this
one in Miami reassured travelers that while the route through
town may be unfamiliar, it could still be friendly.
station is easy to find today. The owner recently restored the
building for use as a beauty salon. It looks much as it did in
the 1930s, although the gas pumps have been removed, and only a
ghost outline of the Pheidippides runner is visible. The
National Park Service listed the station in the National
Register of Historic Places in 1995.