HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
Pierce Petroleum Bus and Tourist Terminal
This three-building complex was part of a system of restaurants, gas stations, bus terminals and comfortable rest areas run by the Pierce Petroleum Corporation during the 1920s-30s. They were located along Route 66 from Tulsa through Miami, Springfield, Rolla and then on to St. Louis. The Springfield Pierce-Petroleum Terminal, also called the Pierce Pennant Tavern, opened on July 16, 1928. It cost $80,000 to build and contained a bus station, restaurant, soda fountain, rest rooms and greasing/washing facility.
Henry Clay Pierce originally founded the company in the 1870s, but Edward Levy took the reins in 1925 and engineered the company's rise as an upscale-appearing, middle-class tourism destination and facilitator. The center photo shows the architecture of the gas station looks similar to the "California Mission" style of the Frisco Depot, rebuilt two years earlier. The company used other established Frisco practices, such as selling advance tickets and radio advertising to lure tourists to the Ozarks region. They also pioneered the use of loudspeakers on trucks to play music and advertise at Ozarks tourist destinations.
The Pennant Taverns continued serving tourists and business travelers until the company began falling apart in the early 1930s. In 1936 the Greyhound Bus terminal purchased the Springfield terminal. The terminal building was torn down in 1979. Although the Pierce Pennant taverns survived only a short time, they played an important part in the history of Ozarks tourism.