Back in our EPHS August e-mail newsletter, our history question of the month asked what was the name of the Magic Gas station, 1600 Echo Park Ave., in the 1960s. The answer, Jack's, triggered fond memories of the station (now the last to operate on Echo Park Avenue) and its owner.
Here are some of the responses: " It was Jack's (Jack O'Neil sp.) gas station. He fixed many a flat bicycle tire for me. He lived across from the Lying In Hospital up the hill on Morton Ave. It would have been around 1730 Morton Ave. The Hospital was 1739." --Mike Balmer "The gas station at Echo Park Ave and Morton Ave . was a Signal Gas Station .. and Jack O'Neil ran it during the 1950's I still have a Signal Gas Station plaque on the wall in my office as a remembrance of one of my first jobs there. When I worked there they had already upgraded the equipment and a guy named "Red" ran it. .. this was around 1963 - 1964 shortly before Signal Gasoline and Handcock Gasoline (Handcock with the rooster and Signal with the traffic signal that only had 2 lights instead of three that always said GO were owned by the same people) were absorbed by one of the big guys and their gas stations started disappearing. In the late 1950's Jacks corner gas station became quite a hangout for a car club called "The Fifths" as well as others that could only be described as juvenile delinquents.There used to be some great fights there .. Jack didn't seem to care - his attitude was "it's just a bunch of kids blowing off steam .." They rarely messed with us kids on our bicycles .. my group were all under the age of 12 at the time and some had big brothers hanging out there as well ... After the equipment upgrade at Jacks Signal Gasoline Station in the early 1960's Jack O'Neil went to work with Herb at Herbs Lock and Key in a little building on the Sunset Blvd overpass of Glendale Ave (where the bank building is now). They were locksmiths who also bought used bicycles at the L.A.P.D auctions then would fix them up and sell them ... If you needed a bike , you went to Herbs Lock & Key for a used one or Honest Abes Auto Parts up the street on Sunset for a new one. AH ... and thanks to you .. The Echo Park Historical Society for the memory .. I wouldn't trade growing up in Echo Park during the 50's and 60's for anything I can think of." --John Duck ----
I met my husband Billy Dalton there when he was pumping gas for Bill and Auggie who bought the station from Jack in 1962. Does anyone remember the big guy Lee who drove around in the jeep? He also worked for Bill and Auggie.
I have been having some fun reading through all of these posts and my memories are flooding back with names and faces. Are you related to Laura Dalton? I went to school with her and I remember her "little" brother Billy who is probably not so little anymore. My name back then was Monique Caravello. I finished elementary school at Elysian Heights in 1980. I was in Mr. Elmer's class. I lived right across the street from Elysian at 1571 Baxter Street at the corner of Baxter and Echo Park. If you are related to Laura- tell her I said hello and to feel free to e mail me at email@example.com. I didn't realize how much a part of Echo Park history the Dalton's were until I read through some of this site. It's really amazing! Take care Monique Zarcone
I shall show Laura your email when she comes in out of the garden. She has signed up for the Historical Society.