Greg Prichard takes us on a suburban expedition to find Vincent Kling's lost, modernist gas station on City Avenue
The City Avenue Atlantic “ice box” gas station as it looked in 1952 when Alfred DeCurtis began sole proprietorship. | Image courtesy of Bob DeCurtis
An “ice box” was exactly the type of building that Atlantic employee Alfred DeCurtis requested at 1 East City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd in 1952. Before World War II, DeCurtis was sole proprietor of gas stations in the city. After the war he worked successfully for Atlantic’s business division. DeCurtis enjoyed being a business owner and wanted to go back to running a station. Because of his success at the company, Atlantic obliged. DeCurtis took over proprietorship of the three-bay station at one of the main entry points to the leafy neighborhoods of the Main Line in 1952. It was just over a decade later that the company would choose that corner for its greatest architectural experiment since the days of its terra cotta temples.