A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
Lower Homestead Valley abuts Mill Valley at the Locust Business District. There are now only two service stations on this 3-block stretch of Miller Avenue, one on the corner of Reed Street and the other opposite Locust Avenue. Both are Chevron. In 1972 there were six gas stations between Reed Street and Locust Avenue: Barry Ivers Shell Service on the corner of Reed; Tillett’s Union Service across the street; Hickman’s Chevron Service on the corner of Evergreen; Exxon across the street; Loyd’s Gulf Service on the corner of Montford; and Xtra Oil Co. opposite Locust.
Until 1974, the parking lot for Whole Foods on the corner of Evergreen and Miller was the site of a service station. In 1935 the Shell station was company-owned and operated. In 1938 Paul Lundberg was the Shell dealer. In 1939, Bud Sherman was the Shell dealer. In 1940, Alex Bardae was the Shell dealer. By 1947, the dealership had been converted and was Ed’s Service & Used Car Lot, a Standard Oil – Chevron dealer.
In 1948, Frank Hickman took over as the dealer. The three-pump station had a tiled roof where the swallows nested and raised their young. Frank Hickman and his family lived in Homestead on Brabo Terrace. He employed college boys from Homestead Valley who learned to serve and earn money for the future. Frank’s truck had a “Follow Me For Service” sign on the back. The truck was available for helping the community as well as customers. In 1948, there were only two other service stations in the three-block stretch of Miller, Bill’s Super Service on the corner of Montford and Anderson’s Service Station opposite Locust.
In 1953 Hickman’s station was enlarged and modernized. The traditional burgundy and cream color scheme was changed to red, white and blue. In 1971, the Chevron logo was redesigned. The new Chevron had two stripes, the old one had three stripes. Cynics described this change as a demotion from sergeant to corporal.
On October 6, 1973, the Yom Kippur War began. On October 17, the Arab Oil Embargo against countries which supported Israel triggered the 1973 energy crisis. In 1974, with gasoline in short supply, long lines developed at gas stations. Supplies were short. Standard Oil decided to close one station in southern Marin. They selected Hickman’s. On October 1, 1974 it was closed and subsequently dismantled. Frank retired. He and Mary continued to live in Homestead. Over the next several years, other gas stations closed.
Barry Ivers eventually converted his Shell franchise to Chevron. In 1985 he sold out to Tom Uong. By 1990, only three of the six 1972 stations remained: Miller Avenue Chevron, Oliveira’s Union 76 and Xtra Oil Co. Oliveira’s closed later and Xtra Oil Co. became a Chevron station. There are three more Chevron stations in the Mill Valley 94941 area: 5 Ashford at East Blithedale, 105 Tiburon Blvd. in Strawberry and 580 Redwood Hwy. Two Arco stations plus two independents bring the total to nine.
If you have comments or questions about this article
or other topics pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.