Editor's note: This is the 204th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - In 1919, Herman Shank, a mechanic, opened Shank's Auto Shop at 1120 3rd Ave., where he sold Saxon, Mitchell and Astor automobiles, along with Hood and G&C tires.
The store soon stopped selling automobiles but went on selling tires at its original location until 1964 when it moved to a new, modern building at 330 20th St. The tire store ultimately became a subsidiary of the Shank Oil Co., headed by Joseph Shank Sr. The store was operated by his sons, Richard and Joe Shank Jr.
An independent retailer, Shank's Tire Service was selling Firestone brand tires when it moved into its new 20th Street building. Later it would sell Michelin, General and Remington tires. In addition to selling tires, the store offered a wide variety of automotive services, including retreading, brake service and front end alignment, along with accessories such as batteries, mufflers and tailpipes.
When Shank's Tire Service closed in October 1983 it wrote an end to one of Huntington's oldest home-owned and operated businesses. Shank's was said to be one of the nation's oldest independent tire retailers.
In Washington, a spokesman for the National Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association, asked to comment on the closing, said the nation's sagging economy had hit the tire business hard. Nationwide, he said, the past year had seen more than 250 tire dealers either go out of business or be purchased by larger companies.
Today, the site of the Shank family's tire store is one of the many business and residential properties that were cleared to make way for construction of Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
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"Lost Huntington: Volume 1" is a hardcover, full-color book of some of the city's lost landmarks. The book is likely to be of interest to anyone who enjoys history and loves Huntington.
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