Whitney Bros. & US Hwy 66
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The History of Whiting Bros.
Edwin Marion Whiting
The Whiting was originally from Massachusetts. They migrated to Ohio ca. 1815 and later to Utah, after joining the Mormon faith.
The family's patriarch was Edwin Marion Whiting (1857-1934). In 1877 he married Anna Maria Isaacson. They had nine children, and Edwin Isaacson Whiting was the oldest.
1958 Southwest US road map.
Edwin worked on the Santa Fe Railroad in Winslow, later he moved to Utah and established saw mills there. But following a vision in which is late father appeared to him in a dream while he was feverish with typhoid fever, he retrned to Arizona.
He claimed a 160 acre homestead of forest and built his own sawmill there. He was successful, and with his five sons, incorporated Whiting Brothers in 1926 -the same year that Route 66 was created.
The Whiting brothers became merchants of groceries, oil and gasoline, automobiles and building materials.
E. I. Whiting
E. I. Whiting, (1882-1963) was born at the Meadows, 8 miles from St. Johns, Arizona.
The 1958 History of Arizona tells the following story about Whiting Bros.
At an early age, each of the sons joined his father and they worked closely together in all of their various enterprises. This close cooperation was effective in building up the organization which today places the Whitings among the Southwest's leaders in lumbering and saw-mill operations, farming and ranchign, oil refining... In 1914 E. I. Whiting and his brothers built an automobile garage and repair shop in St. Johns. In 1922 they accepted their first Ford agency. This venture has grown into a chain of garages and the service stations mentioned above. Mr. Whiting built the first motion picture theater in Apache County. The Whitings took their first road construction contract in 1906... [and] continue to hold a Class A General Contractors license in Arizona
Their timberland assets, known as "Whiting Block" in St. John's was destroyed by a forest fire in 1942, but the company overcame the losses and the postwar economic expansion brought a higher demand for lumber products. The company grew over the following twenty years expanding into service stations, ranching and the hospitality business.
Two of E.I.'s sons, Farr and Virgil followed their father's steps and led the company, but died in an aviation accident in 1961. E.I. appointed his three sons-in-law to direct the company. Wilford J. Shumway became president of Whiting Brothers.
The company focused on the retail and hospitality sector as its core business.
Dunn and Bradstreed reported its sales as $6 Million in 1973, and having 190 employees.
Headquartered in Holbrook, the company had built lumber gas stations along Route 66. It is said to have grown to over 100 filling stations plus fifteen motels and truck stops that extended from Lenwood in California to Shamrock in Texas.
Howver, the US Interstate Commerce Commission reported in 1971 that "Whiting Bros. Oil Company operates 43 service stations and 13 motels in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California.".
Many of these service stations and motels were located along Route 66 where you can still see the remains of those that were abandoned.
Their slogan was "Most of the Best for the Least".
The company went through difficult times during the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973, which led to fuel shortages. Added to this was the expansion of the Interstate highway system that bypassed many of their service stations located on Route 66. The company sold the stations piecemeal.
Some motels continue to operate as such, but only one gas station remains open. Below we will describe the remaining Whiting Bros. sites along Route 66, from east to west, starting in Shamrock, Texas.
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Whiting Bros along Route 66 in Texas
There were three Whiting Bros. stations in Shamrock.
The easternmost surviving Whiting Bros. service station is in Shamrock, Texas.
Whiting Bros. Gas Station in Shamrock TX
720 E 12 Street, Shamrock
This building with Art Deco decorations on the upper part of its parapets and walls was a Whiting Brothers gas station dating back to 1938.
This style flourished between both World Wars (1914 to 1940). It adopted symmetry, rich colors and bold rectilinear geometric shapes to exalt technological progress.
It was a symbol of elegance, luxury, and wealth based on the mechanized technological world of the early twentieth century.
Art Deco buildings had linear, rectangular, triangular or trapezoidal shapes, zigzags, sleek and streamlined forms and smooth materials that blended concrete, marble, stucco and also steel, and aluminum.
It fell out of favor during WWII, when it was seen as decadent and it was replaced by more functional and unadorned styles.
See this photo from 2011 when it still sported the WB sign over the pump islands which was supported by the steel column that can be seen next to the curb.
Whiting Bros. Gas Station #2
600 E 12th Street, Shamrock
This staion is known by the Texas Historic Resources Survey Inventory (THRSI) as the "P. B. Wooldridge #2 gas station", a Whiting Brothers station, also from 1938. Its Art Deco design is very similar to the first one.
The third Whiting Bros. in Shamrock
P.B. Wooldridge Gas Station
406 W 12th St.
It is facing Oscar's, on the SW corner of Arkansas St. and Route 66. This Art Deco building dates back to 1938 (all three Whiting Bros. stations in Shamrock were built that year). It was owned by P.B. Wooldridge, and was also the local Greyhound Bus Station. Later it became AA Towing. The station lacks a canopy and garage but has a protruding cornice above large windows, and a geometric parapet.
Thumbnail Groom WB Station 1980s. See original image
The next station in Texas was located in Groom.
Groom Service Station
606 Front Street, Groom
Located on the north side of Route 66 on the western side of Groom, this WB station in Groom TX is still standing, and has been repurposed as the offices of the Justice of Peace.
The building retains its canopy and concrete pump island
The next station is located in Eastern Amarillo on the original Route 66 alignment into the city.
Amarillo Whiting Brothers
7501 E Amarillo Blvd
The building is in disrepair, but the canopy, islands and office are standing. On the western side of the property, there is a yellow vertical sign with the faded letters "Whiting" written on it.
The next station (#74) was located in downtown Vega, but it has been razed.
This ends our tour of the WB stations along Route 66 in Texas. We will head west into New Mexico.
New Mexico Whiting Brothers sites
There was a station in San Jon, but it burned down in the late 1960s, so the first WB sites in NM are in Tucumcari.
Service Station: Gone
WB Sign in Tucumcari (gone).
4001 E Tucumcari Blvd.
It was located in eastern Tucumcari, on the north side of US66, just past the Super 8 Motel. It was demolished, but its signs had survived until around 2015 (2015 view), but now it has been completely razed (2018 view).
Head into town to see a "new" Whiting Bros. Gas Station.
392 W Tucumcari Blvd.
The restored gas station was never a Whiting Brothers station. It was recreated in Nov. 2011 by a group of local town volunteers. The mural, artwork and lettering were also painted by a local, Doug Quarles.
Below is a sequence showing it Before and After its restoration or recreation as a WB station.
Motel still there, now Americana
Originally the State Motor Lodge
Postcard State Motor Lodge, credits
At 406 E. Tucumcari Blvd. This motel began in 1935 as the State Motor Lodge, with a "U-shaped" layout around a central cottage styled office, with carports between the units. Its postcard tells us it had "19 New Modern Units Panel Ray Heat - Foam Rubber Mattresses and Inner Springs AIR-CONDITIONED YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME Mr. & Mrs. W. L. Crotty, Owners & Operators."
Later the Desert Air Motel
The Crotty's later renamed it "Desert Air Motel", and upgraded its neon sign to the one that we see nowadays. According to this 1956 it postcard was "Your Home Away from Home... Family connecting suites
of two and three separate bedrooms to accommodate from four to eight guests." It was owned and managed by Bill and Dorothy Crotty.
Then a Whiting Bros Motel
It was acquired by the Whiting Bros Oil company and added to their motel chain. Whiting owend around 100 filling stations and 15 motels in the Southwest, from Lenwood in California to Shamrock in Texas, many of them on Route 66, but they went under during the 1973 Oil Crisis.
The neon sign was modified to reflec the new ownership: The word "TV" was written on the slanted part under "Motel", the cactus was replaced with the "WB" shield and the words "Whiting Bros" replaced "Desert Air" in the oval (see below).
Finally Americana Motel
The motel eventually became the Americana. The carport areas were enclosed and more rooms added. Fortunately the motel has managed to keep its fantastic Googie-style Neon Sign with some minor changes.
As you can see above, the newest neon sign replaced the "WB" shield with a box that says "AAA Approved" and "Americana - Vacancy" was written in the oval.
1004 Emerald Rd. Newkirk
On the north side of the freeway, on the original Route 66 alignment, on I-40s N Frontage Rd. at Exit 300.
This was WB station #78. The building has survived and is still operating as a service station.
You can see what it looked like in this 1980s photo.
The station at Cuervo was demolished so you will have to drive to Santa Rosa to see the next site.
The gas station was razed, but the old motel has survived.
Sunset Motel, formerly WB Motel
1835 US Route 66, Santa Rosa
The building is relatively unchanged, even the neon sign has kept the "Motel" and lower boxes of the original one (though now it is painted yellow instead of red -see the arrow in the photo below).
It is still open and operating as a motel under the name Sunset Motel. Below is a "Then-and-Now" sequence.
The big tree has gone, but the building is clearly recognizable.
Drive west to Moriarty here is the Only Whiting Bros. station on Route 66 that is still in operation.
Moriarty Whiting Brothers Service Station
The Moriarty Service Station was the #72 and opened in 1954. By the mid-1980s the company folded and sold off or closed its service stations.
In 1985 the #72 was bought by an employee who had worked there since 1965, opening the Sal & Inez Service Station, which is still operating.
Its sign, which was rusty and needing repair was an original one, and was restored in 2014.
As you would expect, a city like Albuquerque had several WB gs stations. But none of them have survived.
Only the motel, located in Western ABQ is still standing.
Americana motel - formerly Whiting Motel
5908 Central Ave SW
The Americana Motel was once the Whiting Brothers Motel in Albuquerque. The Americana's neon sign is actually the original Whiting Bros. sign with the "WB" shield removed.
Whiting Brothers motel. www.cardcow.com. Click for larger image
Beside the motel, to the west is the old Whiting Gas Station Sign which now is faded with the paint peeling off, with the words"Trailers" and "Gas".
Head west along Route 66 to San Fidel, to see the ruins of a derelict gas station and its neon sign, plus that of the now razed motel.
Whiting Bros. Gas Station in San Fidel
2.7 miles west of San Fidel, on NM 124, 0.5 mi. east of I-40's Exit 96. North side of the road.
It is also called the McCarty's Whiting because McCartys is close (5 mi. west).
The remains of the station are on Historic Route 66 (NM-24) 0.5 miles before I-40's Exit 96. On the right side of the road. The signs of the motel and service station are on the left side of US 66, and can be seen from the westbound lanes of the freeway.
As the image above shows, it has been falling slowly apart as time goes by inexorably.
It was built around 1940 and may have been the service station mentioned in 1946 by Rittenhouse's "Guidebook to Route 66", two miles west of San Fidel: "Chief's Rancho Cafe here, with gas, grocery, curios and cafe."
The sign reads: "Whiting Bros - MOTEL - groceries", and has an arrow pointing towards the vacant lot (the motel burned down in the 1990s). To the east is the brand's yellow shield with the letters "W B" and the words "Whiting Bros." on a red ribbon across it.
Head west past Grants and Milan, whose WB properties have been razed, and stop at Continental Divide.
Motel & Service Station in Continental Divide
N Frontage Road.
The former motel and service station are located on the north side of the dead-end Route 66 in Continental Divide.
Whiting Brothers Service Station and Motel
The motel kept on operating under different names, but is no longer open, but the sign is still there (Street View).
The service station still stands, see its Street View. It has the typical simple flat-roofed building with the canopy covering the two pumps. The Canopy now it reads "interlock installers".
In case you are wondering what an "interlock" is, it is a device like a breathalyzer, installed in a vehicle to deter drinking and driving. To start the vehicle, the driver must deliver a breath sample into the device. In New Mexico it is required for at least one year for all first-time Driving Under the Influence offenders; subsequent offenses require longer periods of installation. Drinking and driving is a problem in NM.
Below is a vintage postcard of the motel ca. 1960. Same building and sign that can be seen today.
Head west to Gallup.
In Gallup also had a motel and several gas stations. You can still see the motel and one service station.
Station #12 in Gallup - now Danny's Auto Sales
700 E Route 66
On the south side of the road. The service station operated until the early 1980s then it became a used auto lot. The original building was razed around 2004 and was replaced by a new one. However, the original canopy is stil there.
Below is a vintage photo ca. 1980s of this station with the full Whiting Bros. regalia. As you can see, the canopy is the same.
Three miles West of Gallup was the #40 station, located more or less where J&J Truck services is nowadays.
One mile ahead was the motel.
Gallup WB Motel
3150 W Rte. 66
On the north side of the highway, the building has kept its general appearance (see the canopy by the office). Below is a Then and Now sequence of the original motel, which is still open, now a Budget Inn.
> > You can Book a Room the Budget Inn
The building is virtually the same with a different neon sign.
This ends our tour across New Mexico. The next stop is in Lupton, AZ.
There is a gas station at Lupton.
WB gas station Lupton
On the north Frontage Road, passing Tee Pee Trading, Sateline General Store, and the Chaparral Trading Post. At the foot of the red sanstone cliffs.
Thumbnail of Lupton's Whiting Bros. c.1960s
Click for full size view
Lupton's Whiting Bros station is closed and in need of repair. It appeared in the phone directory since 1955 and was located close to the Eastbound lanes of I-40. Razed by the freeway in 1960, it moved to its current location. The thumnbail image (click on it to enlarge) shows it during its golden days. The gas station has a flat canopy held by steel poles, box-shaped woodframe building with a single split pump island and the now empty sign above the canopy. Another room was added to the right side of the building. It is pictured below.
The 1950s postcard below looks west along Route 66 into Lupton. The highway ran where I-40s Eastbound (EB) lanes now run. The red arrows mark the Tomahawk trading post, recognizable thanks to its sign, a tomahawk across a wide billboard promoting "Save 5 ¢ per gal." just beyond it you can see the Whiting Bros. station, with its long narrow yellow sign with the "WB" shield on its left tip. We include the same view nowadays with both buildings gone, razed by the freeway construction. The cliffs serve as a reference to place the spot.
1950s postcard Welcome to Lupton. A. Whittall. Source
Click image to enlarge
2021 Welcome to Lupton. A. Whittall. St. view
Click image to enlarge
Drive west to see the next site in Sanders.
On the North Frontage Road, west of I-40's Exit 339, this former Whiting Bros. station was later the Stop and Go Café and Filling Station.
The canopy and three vintage gas pumps are still there. No WB signs are visible.
Head west to Holbrook and enter it by its Eastern side.
As you enter the town from the east, you will encounter the former North Holbrook Whiting Bros. Motel, followed by a Whiting Bros. gas station.
Sahara Motel, former Whiting Bros. Motel - North Holbrook
2402 Navajo Blvd.
To your left. This is the second Witney Brothers Motel in Holbrook the other is ahead, in Western Holbrook, the West Holbrook Whiting Motel.
The motel was built in the 1960s with a modern geometric design typical of that period. The building hasn't changed. Only the Neon sign has adapted and shifted its position.
Whiting Service Station Holbrook
2218 Navajo Blvd.
Two blocks further south, also to your left is an abandoned former Whiting Bros. gas station.
Drive through the downtown of Holbrook and head west along Hopi Dr. ahead is the second Whiting Brothers motel in town.
The Whiting Motel now Economy Inn - West Holbrook
612 W. Hopi Dr. Holbrook, AZ
The Whiting Motel is shown below in a 1970s postcard. The back of the card said "WHITING MOTELS are located in Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, Kingman, and Yucca, Arizona Barstow, California and Continental Divide, San Fidel Interchange, West Albuquerque,Gallup, & Tucumcari in New Mexico, (all on Interstate 40) 612 West Hopi Drive Phone (602) 524-3946 Box 850 - Holbrook, Arizona 86025".
Below is how the old motel looks today, an Economy Inn: basically the same building in a different color, the neon sign was gone, but they kept the same ornamental gazebo in the front court.
East side Motel now gone
Budget Motel - LZ Motel and Whiting Bros Motel (Gone)
At 1121 E 3rd was the "Budget Motel" from the 1940s.
It was owned and ran by Lee Elzey (hence its name "LZ"). It originally faced Route 66 on E 2nd St. where he owned a tire shop. He gradually expanded it when westbound traffic was moved to 3rd St. and appears in the local 1960 phone directory on the motel premises.
Click on the thumbnail image above to see a large size picture showing its now gone signs facing 2nd and 3rd Streets.
The motel's neon sign over the years
L-Z Motel neon sign 1960s. Source
The property was purchased by Whiting Bros and became their eastern motel in Winslow (there was another one on the western side of town). They used the neon sign facing 2nd St. (image shows the L-Z neon sign looking east along E 2nd. in the 1960s) and converted it into a WB sign.
After Whiting Bros. folded, the motel changed hands and finally ended up as the Budget motel that also used the same original 1960s steel sign. Budget motel and signage were all torn down in 2016.
Below is a view of the motel when it was a Whiting Bros motel in the 1970s, and later in 2011 as the Budget Motel. The sign was the same one!
Service Station in Eastern Winslow
1402 E 2nd St.
The Whiting Bros. gas station has survived and you can still see it.
It also faced both westbound and eastbound traffic along East 2nd and 3rd Streets. Below are the views along both streets.
See this 1990s photograph of the station with all its WB colors.
West Winslow: El Hopi - Whiting Bros Motel & station
Continue west., and go down to W2nd St. On the SW corner with N. Arthur Ave. was Perry's Cafe, torn down in 2015. As you cross N. Arthur, to your right is an old motel and gas station from the 1940s, "El Hopi". Located at 815 "W 2nd., the old building with a U-shaped layout on the SE corner. The gas station is on the left side of the property. It became a Whiting Bros. motel in the 1960s. Both buildings are in need of repair. The gas station has a low sloped gable canopy. Signs have gone (notice the two poles cut off at the level of the sidewalk by the corner). Below is a "Then and Now" set of images:
Whiting Bros. Motel Flagstaff
2140 W Historic Rte 66
The postcard stated "36 units - See Beautiful Northern Arizona". the building is very similar to the one in North Holbrook, with the gabled roofs above the two-floor building. Even the office canopy has the saw-tooth design.
The motel is still open, and is now a Rodeway Inn.
> > You can Book a Room the Rodeway Inn
Next to it, on its western side is the old WB gas station, now a car rental.
Flagstaff Whiting Bros. Gas Station
2136 E Rte 66
The original building is still standing, and is currently the offices of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The two concrete pump islands and the canopy held up by four steel posts are still there.
The steel superstructure that supported the sign on top of the canopy is clearly visible. This was their #91 station.
Bellemont Whiting Station: Gone
This station was located on the original Route 66 alignment on the south side of I-40, in Bellemont. You can see what it looked like in this 1962 photo, it has been razed and built over; now it is a storage depot (Street View).
Bellemont: Site of the Whiting Bros station and motel
On the 1931-64 US 66 in Bellemont AZl. The complex decayed after the mid 1960s when I-40 replaced US66 and was finally torn down. Below is a picture from 1962:
The picture below, taken in 1962 looks east along Route 66, you can see the gas station and in the distance (red arrow) the classic Pine Breeze Inn. See it in this aerial photo from 1964.
WB Motel and Gas Station in Williams
315 W Bill Williams Ave.
The place was originally known as Sutton's Hotel Cottages, and renamed Sutton's Courts. In those days Bill Williams Avenue was a two way highway. The site was purchased in 1965 by Whiting Brothers and converted into a modern 60s motel. They also added the service station (Street view) that is located on the corner (now closed see photo).
In the early 1990s they sold it and it changed its name again. Since then it has been the "Arizona 9 Motor Hotel".
> > You can Book a Room in the 9 Arizona Motor Hotel.
Below the original neon sign and, the remains of the old gas station.
The Whiting Bros. Motel in a late 1960s postcard. Source
Former WB service station. Williams AZ
Ash Fork (gone)
The local phone directory tells us it was the station #94, West of Ash Fork. The 1990s image below shows the "Nomad", at that time Ash Fork Inn, on the lower left side of Route 66, the Sinclair above it (middle left), Picacho Bute in the distance and on the west side of the highway the old Whiting Bros Station
The place was torn down and a flagstone business is located on the property (StoneWorld Inc.) and this is its Street view
Read more about Ash Fork
You can still see the site of the Whiting Bros station in Seligman, on the eastern side of the town, at Chino and Route 66; below is a photo from 1983 and the current view of the same spot. Looking west, the station was to your right on the north side of the higway (see the spot).
The next station has survived and is located in Truxton, the Truxton Service Station:
Truxton Station, former WB
Truxton Service Station
This service station opened in 1951 and at one time was a Withing Brothers gas station, and was owned by Mildred Barker (owner of the Barker Apts. and the Frontier motel & café, both of them on US 66 in Truxton).
Later it became a Mobil station. The place is still operating, selling gasoline. See its street view.
Kingman had a Whiting Motel that has survived, and two gas stations, of which one is still standing.
Former Kingman Whiting Bros Motel
1250 W Beale St.
It is located 1 mile west of downtown Kingman, not on US 66, but on US 93.
The old motel is still operating as a motel, now it is an Economy Inn. The service station to the east of it is gone. Below is a Then-and-Now sequence of the motel.
The gas station was located on the southwestern side of Kingman, on the original alignment that existed before the Freeway. This ran to the east of the freeway's alignment all the way to McConnico (see map of this aligment), where it turned west (these 1,000 ft. -300 m- are now under the freeway) and headed towards Cool Springs and Oatman along current state Hwy 10 (see map of this alignment).
The WB station was located just before McConnico.
Dans Auto Salvage - former WB station
2666 S Highway 66
Now it is part of a junkyard full of tires and rusting cars that provides scrap metal and car parts to those who need them.
Whiting Bros motel postcard, Yucca AZ
Located on the 1952 Route 66 alignment, that replaced the one going through Oatman, Yucca had a motel and a gas station. Both have been razed but their neon signs have survived and fade under the desert's sunlight.
On the eastern side of the freeway, on the northern side of this small town.
Whiting Bros. Motel and Gas Station.
Only the signs of the motel and gas station remain, on the eastern side of the highway. The motel and gas station were torn down years ago, and the signs are gradually decaying in the desert air.
The "pool" and the crest with the company's logo have vanished.
To the south of the motel was the gas station. Only the concrete pump islands and the two signs survive.
Street view of all three signs.
The Whiting sites in Needles, Chambless, Barstow, and Lenwood have been razed. There is only one site remaining and it is located in Newberry Springs.
The Newberry Springs service station is the last Whiting Brothers site on Route 66.
It is on the north side of the road.
"Dry Creek" Station
The service station dates back to 1951, and was a Whiting Bros. Station (unit #45) until it closed around the time that I-40 bypassed Newberry Springs (early 1970s).
It was first a restaurant, Tony's Cafe, offering Italian American dishes, and then it became a service station. In 1982 it was bought by Mary and Henry McGee, and remains there, nostalgic of its former glory.
It was built with railroad ties, plastered with stucco and its canopy was crowned by a wood slat sign which was later repainted to read "Dry Creek Station", apparently by a movie crew shooting a film there. It may be the film "Happenstance" featuring Greg Lewis and Amy Wheaton, directed by Don Campbell (1997), this is its Street View.
Don't miss the original gas pumps frozen in time with gasoline at dirt cheap 1970s prices. They were manufactured by Bennet Co. and the gas was "leaded" and included 11 cents tax.
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Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Whiting Bros. Gasoline Stations and Motels by Phillip Gordon
Whiting Bros., resources, photos and more.
Historic Resources Survey Inventory US 66
H. Allen Anderson, "Shamrock, TX," Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association
Annette W. Farr. The Story of Edwin Marion Whiting and Anna Maria Isaacson. Pub. J. G. Stevenson, 1969.
Edward Hadduck Peplow. History of Arizona, Vol. 3. Pub. Lewis Hist. Publ. Co., 1958.
Familypedia Edwin Marion Whiting
WBI Companies History and Past Leadership
Interstate Commerce Commission Reports Motor carrier cases, United States. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971