Editor’s Note: This is the 266th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — The Texas Company, better known as Texaco, was founded in 1901 at Beaumont, Texas, upon the discovery of the vast oil field at Spindletop.
For many years, Texaco was the only company selling gasoline under the same brand name (“Sky Chief”) in all 50 U.S, states, as well as Canada, making it the most truly national brand among its competitors. It was also one of the Seven Sisters, a group of companies that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.
Texaco was an early television sponsor with its Texaco Star Theater, featuring comic Milton Berle, which debuted in 1948. Each week’s show opened with a quartet of men, clad in service station outfits, singing: “We're the men of Texaco. We work from Maine to Mexico. There's nothing like this Texaco of ours!” Berle’s program was broadcast in the same time slot as Fulton J. Sheen’s program for a while, thus leading to Berle's oft-quoted quip, “We both have the same boss – Sky Chief!”
Texaco also was long associated with the Metropolitan Opera as the sole sponsor of its Saturday radio broadcasts for 63 years.
For many years, Texaco service stations were a familiar part of the Huntington area landscape. But in the late 1970s, the company began a reorganization plan that over a period of years saw it withdraw totally or partially from 18 states.
In 1980, Texaco announced that as part of its reorganization plan it was withdrawing from 44 West Virginia counties, including Cabell and Wayne. At that time, the company had four stations in Huntington and one in Wayne.
“We’re really the only company marketing in all 50 states, and we’ve found ourselves spread too thin,” a company spokesman told the Herald-Dispatch, adding that it was “an inefficient way of doing business.”
Texaco remained an independent company until 2001 when it was merged into Chevron Corporation.