Standard Oil still exists into the 2000s.....not under that particular name, but separate state offshoots that once were owned by Standard Oil include Exxon, Chevron, Amoco, Mobil, and BP. But the one thing stood out in the early days – for me, anyway – were the 'royalty'-looking gas pumps that had that crown on top...a red crown. Thus, was 'Red Crown' gas.

When Standard Oil broke and split up into 33 subsidiaries in 1911, the already-existing Standard gas stations started selling fuel under the name “Red Crown” with cool-looking pumps to match the name. It was an extremely memorable trademark.

Was the company owned by a member of royalty? Was someone in the company named “Crown”? No on both. It was just a clever gimmick to help sell gas. Across the state of Michigan - and the country - these gas stations continued using the name 'Red Crown' with those crowned pumps adorning the shop front, and you could even find a lone crown pump in the middle of downtown along the street.

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Many Red Crown stations still operated with a very noticeable “Standard” sign out front...but customers didn't care about that...they dug the crowned pumps. In fact, while Standard kept re-vamping, renewing, re-inventing, splitting, selling, and buying, the Red Crown pumps went on for another fifty years.

There are still some cool old Standard stations left in Michigan that were built in the 1920s and 1930s. They were built to look like small castles and you can find them in Coldwater, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, Monroe, and Port Huron. Pictures of all five are included in the gallery below. The gallery is packed with photos of a good many old Red Crown gas stations from throughout Michigan. Take a look!

(You can read much more about Red Crown and the ever-changing Standard company here.)

Michigan's Red Crown Gas Stations: 1910s-1960s


When Gas Stations Were Fun

Abandoned Gas Station on US-2, Upper Peninsula

Michigan's Standard Gas Stations: 1910s-1950s