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Cities Service Oil Company

August 8th, 2008 · 60 Comments

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Cities Service

Cities Service “For People Going Places!”

Cities Service Company was started by an oilman, Henry Latham Dougherty, in 1910 to supply gas and electricity to small public utilities. The next three years saw enormous growth, including the purchasing of the Quapaw Gas Company, much of the Barnsdall Properties, and in addition, the Empire Gas Company. In 1914 the Empire subsidiary discovered oil in Kansas. By 1915 Cities Service Company possessed 98 subsidiaries and had its headquarters on Wall Street.

In 1916 Cities Service bought their first oil refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. By 1918, or the final year of the First World War, Cities Service was the supplier for half of the oil used by the US and its Allies. In 1928 a Cities Service subsidiary discovered oil in the Oklahoma City field which, at the time, was one of the largest oil fields in the world.

In the 1960’s, the Cities Service Company realized the need to modernize its corporate identity. The name CITGO was introduced in 1965, using the word “GO” to promote the company as one with “power, energy and progressiveness.” With the name change came the introduction of the famous red triangle, known as the “trimark” logo. In 1982, Cities Service was sold to Occidental Petroleum. The following spring, CITGO was incorporated, and in August of the same year, was sold to Southland’s 7-Eleven. In 1986, Petróleos de Venezuela bought 50% interest in CITGO, and in 1990, Venezuela’s national oil company bought the remaining half, for total ownership of the CITGO name.

CITGO Petroleum Corporation

1293 Eldridge Parkway
Houston, Texas

Do you have a story to share about Cities Service, or Citgo? Please blog-in and let us know.

Tags: Citgo · Gas & Oil Companies · Manufacturer Histories

60 responses so far ↓

  • 1 tom // Oct 1, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I have 100 shares of Empire Texas Oil company share#5702 Dated 10/24/19 Does it still have value?

  • 2 buck james // Mar 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I have an oil lease sighn that says cities sevice oil company. It has a well name and number. It also has there company logo on it. Does it have any value and how old is it?

  • 3 vintagevending // Mar 17, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    We aren’t able to give estimates on the value of an item. If you keep an eye on Ebay or maybe Craig’s List, your item is sure to be listed at some point. That may give you a rough idea of it’s value but keep in mind to compare apples to apples. Prices vary greatly depending on condition. If anyone can help with a value of this item please blog in.

  • 4 Connie Meyer // Aug 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    My grandparents had a Cities Service Station and cafe. My dad worked there before and after serving in WWII, until he got married and got a job with Northwestern Bell Telephone. I remember the bulk truck vividly, and the green sign with the family sign below it “See Meyer’s for tires.” The place was always busy with Grandma’s cooking, and Grandpa’s stories. : )

  • 5 Bill Bell // Aug 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I am looking for any info on how the gas compressor station at Tallant, Oklahoma or the Post office got their names

  • 6 Jim Nickerson // Oct 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    A little history from 1956 to 1973: I went to work for Ark. Fuel Oil Corp. in 1956 as a tank wagon driver. Then in 1957 as agency clerk for the next 7 years. In the meantime Cities bought out the 49% share of Ark Fuel Oil. and Cities then owned 100 % of the Company. In Jan. 1965, I was promoted into sales as the only sales representative in Atlanta. We had (8) small two bay stations at the time. Ben Windham was our Division Mgr. with Bob Moore as Asst. Divn. Mgr. It was in Jan. 1965, Atlanta was made a test market for the Southern Region. I set out as the only sales rep. to find dealers for the potential new streamlined stations to follow. Andrew Re was our realestate rep at time. We bought several prime locations and began to build. I opened my first new station on /Shallowford Rd.–Chamblee, Ga. on Jan. 1, 1966. We only had the Cities Service Credit Card at the time. No bank cards of any kind..It was a real tough time in the beginning as Cities Service was not recognized in the market place. It took another four years 18 hour days to finally open (9) new outlets. By 1969, we were well on our way to becomeing a contender in the Atlanta market place. I had made man of the year in 1966 with the opening of the new outlets with increased throughput. By 1967, we had several more sales reps. in the area. We had gone through many price wars during this time, with gasoline being (36.9) and lower. The colors (red-white-blue) came in with the new Logo. Citgo…Cities Service on the Go…in the late 60s.
    It was in 1970 we became involved with the Munford Co. the Majik Markets. to market gasoline through convenient store outlets using the credit card for groceries with purchase of gasoline. (I am rushing through this briefly, as I could probably write a book on this era – going from full service to the self service market concept.) Just a brief of how it was…. Jim N.

  • 7 Jim Nickerson // Oct 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Just to add a few more comments: Cities Service Oil Company went through many changes in just a few short years. We topped out at around 55,000 employees during those years. When self-service came in, Cities (or Citgo) scaled back drasticly on personnel. I will say this; the oil companies were the all-time elite when it came to marketing…..Cities Service Oil Co. was the best over-all managed Company in existence. After 57 years in the job market – I will bear witness to this fact…Jim N.

  • 8 Rick // Jan 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I have a set of Cities Service Oil Company promotional gift prints of antique fire trucks and would like to find out when they were printed or when this promotion was done. The set consist of three 10″x8″ prints, the folder they came in, and the mailing envelope. The return address on the envelop is “Cities Service Oil Company, 60 Wall Street, New York 5, New York. The set was produced by The McCleery Cumming Co in Washington, Iowa and were mailed from there location

  • 9 John Latimer // Apr 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I just purchased a Cities Service sign that is black and white. Most of the Cities Service advertising I’ve seen have been in green. Is there any reference to these signs ever being black on white like mine? How old is this thing?

  • 10 vintagevending // Apr 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    John,

    I found this link showing a 10 inch black and white porcelain Cities Service Sign priced at $750. http://www.oldgas.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=183740
    It’s a forum, so I’m sure you could ask them how old the sign is.

  • 11 hunter ballagh // Aug 2, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Just bought a cities service gas pump in working condition do you know of any decals for it .

  • 12 Terry Bender // Sep 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I FOUND STOCK CERTIFICATES DATED 1930, 1931, AND 1932 FOR 95 SHARES OF THIS COMPANY THEY BELONGED TO MY GREAT UNCLE HOWARD L. BEAN. THEY SEEM HISORICAL TO ME IF ANYONE CAN HELP ME OUT HERE, I WOULD BE VERY THANK FULL.

  • 13 Paul Quinn // Nov 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I have a promotional gift from cities services that is dated around october 31st 1959 for free antique automobile prints and inside the packet are two prints

  • 14 Dick Cartmill // Dec 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I’m looking for a Cities Service bug sprayer.
    Thank you

  • 15 l barton // Jan 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Hey, I would be interested in buying a black and white cities service well or lease sign. Let me know what you have. Thanks alot—-Lee

  • 16 Jeffrey L Krueger // Feb 10, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I am looking for 1or2 Cities Service Chipmunk Decals My brother bought a boat in the early 1970’s The decals were between 8 to 14 inches high(dont know for sure how tall the decals were Going strictly off of memory 40 some years ago) Would like to find some as I am restoring a similar boat and want them on my boat.CAN YOU HELP ME? Thank you Jeffrey L Krueger

  • 17 Kay Kinne Beal // Feb 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    My father worked for Arkansas Fuel Oil Company, which became Cities Service. He was a traveling auditor.
    We knew J.C.Taylor and Riggs and Marie back in the dark ages. Daddy was later the distributor in Athens, Ga. in the 40-50’s, still have the P.O. Box from the company he bought when we came to Athens. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at Google and reading the old history. I remember hearing the name of Alton Jones (I think it was). Remember Dutch Holland also. Man that was a long time ago!!

  • 18 Sandy // Apr 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I have `100 shares certificate handed down through our family. I am seeking information on this company

  • 19 DOUG CHRISTIANSEN // Apr 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    i need decals for bennett series 600 pump and globe

  • 20 Charlie Askew // May 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

    My father T.Roby Askew also worked for Cities Service Company in Arkansas,North Carolina,and Atlanta,Georgia.
    I will appreciate anyone that remembers him to let me know by e-mail. Askew.Charlie@gmail.com

    Charlie Askew

  • 21 Lawrence Bound // May 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    My Grandfather, Jack Bound, and my father, John Wesley Bound both worked for Cities Service. Jack worked in the refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma and John worked as a chemist in the lab in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. When the Okmulgee refinery was closed in 1947 eight employees and their families were transferred to the refinery in East Chicago, Indiana. Lewis Robinson (a black man) was the janitor in the lab in Okmulgee and approaching retirement he was not to be included in the transfer to East Chicago – the other men refused to move unless Lewis was also
    transferred. The company went along and included Lewis was also transferred and a few years latter received his full retirements benefits.
    I would really like to hear from anyone who knew the transferred employees.

  • 22 Greg Woolvett // Jun 9, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I was going through my Father in Laws work bench after he passed away and came across a can of cigarette lighters. One was a Zippo with Cities Service and the lgog on it. I sent it to Zippo in Pennsylvania and they repalced the inside works no charge. Just a point of interest, he also had a Presto-Lite Zippo which Zippo also repaired at no charge.

  • 23 barbara gordon // Jun 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I have stock dated march 4th/1920 for west allis-texas oil co. 100 shares, is their any value.

  • 24 Cliff Moebius // Jul 4, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I was wondering if anyone would know if Cities
    Service ever owned a 1931 Town Car Delivery
    (truck). It was a Ford delivery truck. Does the company have an archives? Thank you.

  • 25 Robert // Jul 24, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Rick,
    I also have the set of three prints. The ones that I have were for an offer that expired on May 31st, 1960. So 1960 is a pretty safe bet.
    Bob

  • 26 phil murray // Aug 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I bought an old engine analyser machine made by Electric Heat Control Company of Cleveland Ohio, was cleaning the old beast up and found they had used a seven inch diameter porcelain Cities Service Oils Koolmotor Lght Med sign to mount under the bench vise, three holes are drilled in it, has the clover shape with the pyramid inside on it too. My research says Cities Service Oils name began in 1959 but the machine looks at least ten years older and I see a photo on the net that shows a gas station with the CSO sign above a car that is earlier than 1959. How old is the CSO brand name? Thanks.

  • 27 WALTER HOUSE // Aug 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    IF YOU WANT EMPIRE OIL CO. & CITIES SERVICE HISTORY, TRY TO FIND A COPY OF “ON THE OIL LANDS” BY WILLIAM DONOHUE ELLIS, 1983. I HAVE MY DADS COPY. HE WORKED FOR EMPIRE/CITIES SERVICE 1934-1962. MOST OF HIS TIME WAS AT THE GASOLINE PLANT 3 MILES WEST OF BURRTON, KS. I ALSO WORKED THERE THE SUMMER OF 1949 BEFORE STARTING COLLEGE. GROWING UP THERE IN THE OIL CAMP WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. MY DAD ALSO WORKED IN THE ELDORADO AND EUREKA, KS OIL FIELDS IN THE 1920′S. HE AN TWO OF HIS BROTHERS HAD A WELL CASING CREW. THEY WERE ON CALL FOR ANY DRILLER. THEY RAN THE CASING IN FROM START TO FINISH FOR AS LONG AS IT TOOK. ONE DAY AFTER THEY HAD COMPLETED A 17 HOUR SHIFT THEY WENT TO A EUREKA CAFE TO EAT SUPPER. WHEN A FAMILY THAT HAD JUST FINISHED EATING GOT UP TO LEAVE, THEIR YOUNG SON STAYED BACK WHERE MY DAD AND HIS CREW WERE EATING. THEY MUST HAVE BEEN PRETTY HUNGRY. WHEN THE BOY’S FATHER SAID “COME ON DON’T YOU WANT TO GO TO THE MOVIE WITH US?” THE BOY REPLIED ” I’D RATHER STAY HERE AND WATCH THE CASERS EAT!” ALONG WITH THE HARD WORK THE OIL PATCH WAS A LOT OF FUN.
    WALT

  • 28 Dan // Aug 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    In elmira ontario a max milk store is being torn down for replacement the old build was a
    citi service station anyone know how many were in Canada

  • 29 Robert // Aug 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I’m getting a kick out of reading these stories about Cities Service. My dad was employed by Cities and was a lab chemist at the Cities Service/Citgo refinery in Sulphur, LA from 1952 to 1978. Back then they’d let employees take their families on tours of the plant with proper authorization. I remember being amazed at what went on with all of the lab tests and with the catcrackers and the huge tank farm. Now Citgo only has a fraction of the number of people it had employed back then or I’d probably be working there now.

  • 30 Jean McCallum Boyd // Sep 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

    The Matfield Green compressor station was constructed across the road from my family’s farm. As I recall, the folks said it was completed in 1929. They built a school house on a piece of our pasture. When we had visitors, they wondered how we could possibly sleep with noise. My brother & I went all 8 grades at the “Booster School”. When schools were consolidated in the ’40s, My folks bought that school house. I was in college & a class project was to design a farm home & that house now stands on the old farm house site. I am doing genealogy & would love to pictures of the station when it was operating & some information. By the way, I worked in the Wichita office in 1952, So I have a special interest.

  • 31 Jean McCallum Boyd // Sep 30, 2011 at 7:09 am

    P.S. Today the site of that station is a terrible eyesore. It breaks my heart because it was a pristine kept facility in my day.

  • 32 Pam Reves Drake // Nov 2, 2011 at 2:09 am

    My dad retired from Cities Service Gas Co. He was a meter inspector in Kansas , Oklahoma and Missouri. If he were alive now he would be 102 years old.

  • 33 Bob Hobocan // Nov 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I am expecting a small pension from Cities Service Company in a few years- does anyone have a contact for the pension administrator.
    I worked at New Haven copper company in Seymor,CT

    THANKS

  • 34 marilyn // Nov 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I have an old token from Cities Service that says, ” safety” and “progress” with the logo on one side and some info. about Cities Service preferred stock and the amount it will yeild with a small investment on the reverse. Does anyone know what this was? Thanks!

  • 35 lisa machado // Dec 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Ihave 74 shares of stock in cities service company dated 1980 are they worth anything?

  • 36 Sharon // Jan 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Trying to find the location of a Cities Service Station also known as Al’s — possibly in Gardner, Grundy Co, IL. on Hwy. 66. I have a 1959 snap shot of the station.

  • 37 Virginia McCoy // Feb 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I was one of about 40 women hired as secretarial staff when Cities Service Oil Company moved from Bartlesville to Tulsa around 1962. The Company hosted anniversary dinners for these women for several years after that. It was a prestigious place to work and I was able to raise my two daughters thanks to that company and its health and insurance benefits. The company was sold and I along with many others moved with the company to Atlanta, GA. I retired in 1986 from what was originally Cities Cervice but had become Columbian Chemicals Company. I wonder if any of the old group from the Tulsa or Atlanta offices are still around.

  • 38 Fred // Feb 19, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Just a bit of nostalgia….
    My dad was the station manager at the Cities Service Plaza, exit 11N on the New Jersery Turnpike back in the early 50’s.
    Gave that up to join NJ State Police, got shot and move the family to south Florida in 56.

  • 39 Gretta Troyer // Feb 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    We have received a donation of a one gallon Cities Service Oils black and white insecticide can and are curious to know when this may have been made.

  • 40 Matt A // Apr 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    For Virginia- I remember a Virginia… did u work with my father john Armstrong???

  • 41 Pete McGeehan // Apr 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Anyone recall when the Cities Service gas stations provided credit card sales instead of just cash?

  • 42 james f purcell // Apr 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I have my mothers cities service company stock certificate dated Oct 23 1929 and I would like to know if there is any value to it THREE SHARES Thank You

  • 43 roger farney // May 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I have a couple of Cities Service credit card booklets about 3×5 for regis a credit card receipt 20 each

  • 44 cities collector // May 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I am a collector of cities serviecs stuff, send me pictures and I will gladly purchase

  • 45 cities collector // May 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    heres my email

    johnmemmons@aol.com

  • 46 Jim Nickerson // Aug 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I want to say to Charlie Askew: Charlie, I knew you father – T. R. (Roby) Askew. I was in sales in Atlanta in the years between 1965 thru 1973. T.R. Askew was as fine a gentlemen as I ever knew. He was all business and was a real asset to Cities Service in his years. I want to say also, history has not recognized those years on behalf of those that made it happen. We were totally unknown in the Atlanta market. It was by individuals dedication to their work that made Citgo was it has become. History has not told it like it really was. To tell history, you need to mention the folks that made it happen.. Being on the front line in marketing was not an easy task by any means. It is the people that make the company, not the other way around. Charlie, if you see this, you can e-mail me @ jimnick95@yahoo.com Hope this finds you well. Jim Nickerson

  • 47 mikie Thomas // Aug 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    My father was J.B. Shealey and we has Shealey Cities Service in Atlanta around 1960. Does anyone have more details? I have a picture of my dad in front of cities services oil cans on shelves inside the station!

  • 48 noah williams // Sep 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    i recently purchased a pair of wrought iron driveway gates in Benton, AR that have the Cities Service logo in the middle of them. i was told that they were the gates for the AR mgr. of Cities Service at his home ? anyone know any info.

  • 49 penny bonacorsi // Dec 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I have certificate for 60 shares of C, O. D. Oil and Gas Co. Oklahoma. Dated july 6, 1916.

  • 50 Larry Hornaday // Jan 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Pam Reeves Drake #32 I remember your Dad, Frank Drake. He worked at times with Lloyd Moon on Badger Pipeline during the 1970’s. Nice man as was Lloyd Moon. I retired from Citgo in 2004. During Badger P/L startup and into the 80’s most employees had come from gathering line systems in Oklahoma.

  • 51 Norm Brownlie // Feb 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I have a desk, I call it a teacher’s desk, with a small brass plaque on it reading “Property of Cities Service Oil Co. Ltd, #641″. Can anyone help me find out how old it is, or the value? It is a bit scuffed up & has one handle missing.

  • 52 John Regan // Feb 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I have a cardboard gas station poster, ( 26 5/8″ x 17″W) saying: ” Cities Service Credit Card Plan”. Can anyone tell me approx. year? And, value? It’s brand new–unused. Thank you

  • 53 Deirdre Smith // Mar 18, 2013 at 12:19 am

    My father, Eldon Frazey, worked for Cities Service as a geologist from late forties until he retired in the 80’s from Occidental. We lived in Oil Hill, Ks; Wichita, Ks; Casper, Wyoming; Bartlesville and Tulsa, Ok. My first summer job was in drafting in Bartlesville. (I heard Mr. Askew’s and Mr. Armstrong’s spoken of often.) Cities was wonderful to its employees – summer picnics, Christmas parties, etc.

    To Virginia McCoy – You worked with my fiance – Gary Pollex at Columbia Chemicals! What a wonderful time.

  • 54 Susan McDonald // Mar 23, 2013 at 6:44 am

    My dad owned a Cities Service station in Huntsville, Alabama in the late 50’s. Recently we were going thru some old boxes I found a box of Cities Service beach balls that have not been opened and I was wondering if anyone else knew anything about them.

  • 55 Joe // May 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    My Dad worked for Cities Service Company 1941 to 1960 at the Tallant, OK plant. He worked as a welder and was the last one to leave the plant when it closed because he was the one to cut it down. He then went to Wichita, KS for a time before he left the company. His name was Bill Williams and lived in Barnsdall, OK. Bill Pottinger and Lee Johnson worked there also. Anybody recognize the men?

  • 56 Vici // Oct 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I have several Cities Service Company stock. Found when going through out papers from Great Grandfather. Can anyone tell me if they have any value? Can anyone tell me where to research?

  • 57 Paul Beck // Oct 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    My Uncle Pete Mikolaitis owned and operated a Cities Service station in Chicago at 107th & State Street. I have his shirt patched with the logo and 5-D. I am looking for Eager Beaver decals, signs, gas pump, and promotional items. Please respond. Thank you!!!!! barbbeck@sbcglobal.net

  • 58 bob vahey // Dec 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I have an early porcelain sign clover leaf design
    green/white reads Cities Service (some pitting rust)
    size 46.5 x 46.5 Interested in age/value

  • 59 Vici // Jan 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I found some stock my grandmother had in Cities Service Company with dividend payouts in 1977 and 1978. Does anyone know how I can find out if there is any value now?

  • 60 Rocky Hammond // Mar 31, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I found an heavy metal round disk with a city services oil letters and a triangle in the middle. It has a large threaded hole I’m the middle. It looks like a sign? Anyone know what this thing is or if it is worth anything ?

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