Ever-Ready Auto Service
In 1923, my grandparents – Fred and Edith Wemple – came to Midland, Texas from Marshall, Texas, where my grandfather had the prestigious job of station agent for the railroad.
According to my grandmother, the young couple sat in the band stand on the courthouse lawn and counted cars. That was their form of "market research" to determine where to open a gas station for automobiles, which seemed to be finding a place in American life. At the intersection of Wall and Loraine Streets, across from the courthouse of the time, they opened Ever-Ready Auto Service. It was the first drive-in service station in Midland and, according to family lore, the first between Fort Worth and El Paso, about 600 miles.
Ever-Ready Auto Service in Midland.
Fred and Edith Wemple with son Ted and their car advertising the business. Early 1930s.
Edith Wemple describes the early days of the station and of Midland in this recording from June 1978.
The Wemples' sons, Allen and Ted, join sons of employees wearing coveralls for a promotional picture.
Below: the Petroleum Museum Hall of Fame article about Fred Wemple, who was inducted posthumously in 1995.
One post-script: The half-block owned by my grandparents was transferred to the city via eminent domain for what is now the Bush Convention Center. And, somewhat oddly, the current Midland County Courthouse sits on the site (504 N. Loraine) of the Wemples' home they built and lived in for more than 40 years.