Santa Paula Times

Famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart supervises the fueling of her Lockheed Vega monoplane with Union aviation gasoline in California. Photo provided by California Oil Museum

Exhibit Opening and Reception: BY LAND AND BY AIR: Photographs of 1920s Travel in the West

December 24, 2004
Santa Paula News
A new photographic exhibition, “By Land and by Air: Photographs of 1920s Travel in the West,” will open with a public reception from 1 to 3 PM on Sunday, Jan 9, 2005 at the California Oil Museum (805-933-0076, 1001 E. Main St., Santa Paula; 10 AM - 4 PM, Wed - Sun; $4 Adult, $3 Seniors, $1 Children). The opening program starts at 1:30 PM. The exhibit runs through March 20, 2004. Adventure defined travel in the West in the 1920s. Roads were becoming better than passable and filling stations were springing up to serve the needs of motorists. Americans were taking to the air for business, adventure, and travel. Autos and airplanes were breaking speed and distance records. The basic infrastructure of roads, signage, maps, service stations, and airports had been developed, allowing travelers to venture into landscapes they had only seen in magazines. Snapshots of this travel landscape were gathered by Union Oil Company in the 1920s as it supplied fuels to motorists and fliers. These photographs document the exuberant spirit of early travelers as they traveled the West by land and by air.The exhibit of twenty-five photographs features a variety of subjects. The photos of filling stations show the making of a highway icon, from the sleek architecture of city stations to the rustic lonely outposts on the backroads. Automobiles and aircraft were becoming famous for their size, speed, and power, illustrated in these photos by such names as Packard, Marmon, and Vega. Pilots and drivers from Amelia Earhart to Barney Oldfield enjoyed widespread media attention for breaking records on land and in the air, and their photos appear in this collection. By presenting compelling images to the public, the airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and oil companies of the day drew attention to their products and services. Today these images of people, places, and machines serve to reflect the travel landscape of the 1920s.The photographs in this exhibit were taken by unnamed photographers hired by Union Oil Company of California. The images originally appeared in company publications and advertising, and are now in the collection of the California Oil Museum