Sunday, May 14, 2006

Union 76 Balls to Disappear

Last week we found that our local Union 76 gas station had changed from an orange and blue color scheme to red and blue in the space of a day. As 76 stations have been orange and blue my entire life, the sudden change was a bit shocking, to say the least.

It turns out that the iconic spinning Union 76 balls will soon be following the orange and blue colors into history. ConocoPhillips, which now owns Unocal, plans to remove the 76 balls from the Southern California landscape and elsewhere.

Some Californians aren't letting the change happen without protest. A blog has been started, Save the 76 Ball, in an attempt to persuade ConocoPhillips to save at least some of the balls as examples of design from an earlier time in state history. The blog includes "before" and "after" photos of the changes to an Oahu station.

The L.A. Times article has interesting background on the 45-year-old symbol's history and why it matters, including quotes from architecture historian Alan Hess, whose books include GOOGIE REDUX: ULTRAMODERN ROADSIDE ARCHITECTURE.

It's hard to imagine Dodger Stadium without the glowing Union 76 ball spinning in the parking lot...


Blogger Marnie said...

I have two very cool lithographs from my dad's day working for Unocal--I would like someone who values 76 memorabilia to have them. I live in the LA area and will deliver if it isn't too far for gas money. I hope this isn't offensive to anyone reading the blog--just don't know where else to go-- "bleeding orange and blue"

1. Jack Schmitt, 1981, “Power and Speed”, Union 76, signed and numbered lithograph print. $100 OBO

2. Jack Schmitt, circa 1981, “Union 76, 1936”, signed and numbered lithograph print. $100 OBO


8:32 AM  

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