Filed Under Shelby

Rainbow Conoco

At least three generations of motorists have depended upon the courteous, reliable service provided by this longtime Shelby landmark, designed by Continental Oil Company Conoco architects and built in 1936. As an adaptation of the competing Pure Oil Company’s classic domestic form known as the English cottage-type station, the building reflects Continental’s architectural policies of the mid-1930s. The design was intended to blend with both commercial buildings and residential environments. This beautifully maintained 1930s classic station features off-white glazed brick accented with natural orange-red brick trim and a steep gable roof of contrasting dark green asphalt. The color scheme made the station familiar and recognizable as a Continental Oil outlet to passing motorists. Except for the addition of modern pumps and signage, the station remains virtually unchanged; even the restrooms retain the original multi-colored tile trim. Oscar Gunlikson and his son, Jim, operated the station from the 1940s until 1960, but it has long and affectionately been known by local residents as “Joe’s” after Joe Kincaid, who took over in 1965. Today, Rainbow Conoco is one of the state’s finest examples of 1930s gas station design and equally impressive as one of the company’s oldest, continuously operated outlets.

Images

Rainbow Conoco Rainbow Conoco. Front view of the building, facing southwest on Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joseph M. Ashley Date: Sept. 1993
Rainbow Conoco Rainbow Conoco. Rear to side view of the building, facing north to northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joseph M. Ashley Date: Sept. 1993
Rainbow Conoco Rainbow Conoco. Front view of the building, facing south to southeast on Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joseph M. Ashley Date: Sept. 1993
Rainbow Conoco Rainbow Conoco. Front to side view of the building to the west, facing south on Main Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joseph M. Ashley Date: Sept. 1993
Rainbow Conoco Rainbow Conoco. Front to side view of the building, facing west on the corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joseph M. Ashley Date: Sept. 1993

Location

400 Main Street, Shelby, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Rainbow Conoco,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/2123.