By Harold Fuller
1947: The Year of the Car
With the ending of World War 2, the automotive car business was booming all over the country and Hawthorne was no exception. It seems everyone wanted a car and the newer the better.
Ed Culbertson Motor Sales was opened for business in Hawthorne when the grand opening was announced on March 20, 1947. Culbertson’s newly constructed 5,000 square foot building which was to house his Ford, Mercury and Lincoln dealership, had been watched with hopeful anticipation by the populace.
This dealership was new to Hawthorne but was Mineral County’s oldest established car agency, having been established some years earlier at the Mina Garage. When more cars began to become available after the war, Culbertson decided to move into the more populated Hawthorne area and even moved his house here, setting up residence at the corner of 4th and I Streets.
Culbertson continued to own and operate the Mina Garage under a lease arrangement. This is where he started out working for the McKinnon brothers in 1929 as a Ford trained mechanic. In 1933, he purchased a part interest in the business and in 1939 acquired full ownership. Culbertson said he was “always proud to grow up with a Ford.”
Not to be outdone, Farrell L. Seevers formally opened his automotive dealership a couple of months later after he had moved his Standard Oil station from the corner of 5th and E Streets down to 6th and E Streets. Once the metal building was moved he lost very little time getting back into business.
Additional building expansion was performed by Markwart Co. of Sacramento and after completion of this phase, Seevers held his grand opening on May 15, 1947. His new, modern facility was well equipped for all types of automotives sales and service and he carried the Packard, Plymouth and DeSota line of vehicles.
Seevers started out in 1929 working for the Dodge Brothers Freight Line and in 1933 leased the Central Service station, at the corner of 5th and E Streets. This building was wood frame construction and consisted of one room and two hand operated gas pumps. In 1936 he built a more modern, Standard Oil designed metal station on this site and became the Standard Oil distributor for this area. This was the building he later moved down to 6th Street.
Seevers enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and during this time the business was operated by his brother, Vearl. Another Standard Oil Station was built by Seevers at the corner of 5th and G Streets and operated until the property was purchased by the El Capitan and then another was built at 7th and E Streets where the former CAHS building now stands.
Seevers moved his station and Joe Mulcahy, a former war-time Sea-Bee and heavy equipment operator, purchased the land and went to work. He started building his Associated Service Station just as soon as Seevers was out of the way and opened for business on June 25, 1947. His motto: “Let’s Get Associated”. Jeff Wallace later ran this station for a number of years.
Two more veterans came home from the war and went into business. Mac McKinney and Frank Hofsleden, commonly known as just “Mac and Frank”, bought Moyle’s Motor Service located at 5th and F Streets and opened the Nevada Garage. After lengthy negotiations they acquired the very successful Chevrolet Agency in November 1947. Their parts department advertised, “All parts for some cars and some parts for all cars.”
Another business, of which I know very little, advertised Kaiser & Frazier Automobiles located at 547 E Street.
This soon after the war, the demand for an automobile was at fever pitch. If you didn’t have one you got one. This opened the door for another 1947 business to open up with W.H. (Honest Bill) Wallace and his brand new Mobile Station located at the corner of 8th and E Streets. “Honest Bill” opened his newly constructed station, complete with the “Sign of the Flying Red Horse” on June 25, 1947. He had previously operated the Lakeview Service Station so he was well equipped for this one.
All in all 1947 was a good time to be in the automotive business.