Editor’s Note: This is the 327th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Back when a gasoline station attendant filled your tank, washed your windows and checked your oil, all while you comfortably waited in your car, the Huntington area landscape was dotted with Ashland Oil stations.
With its busy refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and its corporate headquarters in Ashland, the company was a familiar part of life in the Tri-State. The company’s sponsorship of the popular “Saturday Night Jamboree” on WSAZ kept its name in front of local TV viewers.
Ashland Oil was founded in 1924 when Paul G. Blazer bought the Catlettsburg refinery, then a small unprofitable 1,000 barrel a day operation.
A canny businessman, Blazer would build the company into a corporate powerhouse with six refineries, thousands of miles of pipelines, an extensive fleet of river towboats and barges and, of course, lots of service stations.
The 1940 edition of the Huntington City Directory listed only two Ashland Oil stations. But by the 1970s, that number had increased to nine stations.
In 1998, Ashland Oil’s petroleum division entered into a joint venture with Marathon Oil.
In 2005, Ashland sold its share of the joint venture to Marathon.
After the sale, Ashland was no longer involved in refining or marketing fuels. The original Catlettsburg refinery remains in operation, owned and operated by Marathon.
Today, Huntington area motorists can buy gas at a Marathon station or pull into one of the Speedway convenience stores operated by Marathon. But you can’t buy gas at an Ashland Oil station. They’ve long since disappeared.