Rainbow Conoco

Also known as: Joe's
400 Main St., Shelby, Montana



"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." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1994
Reference number
Areas of significance
Architecture; Commerce
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Specialty store
Current function
Specialty store
Period of significance
Significant years
1936; 1941

Update Log 

  • August 5, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information