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Wadham's Oil and Grease Company of Milwaukee was a chain of filling and service stations based in Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker in the early 20th century. Their refinery was in Indianamarker. The company was headed by Harger W. Dodge who assumed leadership from his father-in-law in 1916. He saw the potential in offering a convenient way for automobile owners to fill their cars with gasoline. Dodge would build off-street filling stations with underground tanks for the gasoline, and electric pumps to dispense it. Wadham's was purchased by Vacuum Oil Company in 1930. Vacuum Oil was then acquired by Socony, which later became Mobil.

Pagoda service stations

Early gas stations were small, ugly or utilitarian buildings that attracted little notice, or even complaints from neighbors. Dodge hired Milwaukee architect Alexander C. Eschweiler to design eye-catching stations. Inspired by Japanese culture, which was popular at the turn of the century, he created Wadham's signature pagoda. As well as a prime example of Japonism the design was one of the earlier examples of architecture forging a brand identity.

Each building was unique, having a different roofline and floor plan. The pagoda-style roofs were made of stamped-metal tiles. Atop the gabled red roofs many stations had cupolas - often multi-tiered - with lanterns hanging from the corners. The walls were black with yellow trim around the copious glass. They most often featured large plate glass windows on the front, and multi-pane windows covering the sides. Wadham's built over 100 of these distinctive pagodas between 1917 and 1930.

Few of these stations remain. One, built in 1927, was in use as a gas station until 1978. It was restored in 2000, and is now a Registered Historic Place and maintained as a museum display by the city of West Allismarker. Another, built in 1926, is part of the Washington Avenue Historic District in Cedarburgmarker, and is in use as a jewelry store.

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