Best Oil and Refining Company Service Station

Also known as: Panda Lin
624 12th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Best Oil and Refining Company Service Station

Photo taken by Dave King on November 10, 2015



Street View 


The Best Oil & Refining Company Service Station building was constructed in 1930 on the north-west corner of the 12th Avenue SE and 7th Street SE intersection in the south-east quadrant of the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. (624 12th Avenue SE) It was the third gas station building used by the Best Oil & Refining Company and was the only one that was built specifically for their Best Oil business. The owners of the Best Oil & Refining Company, George D. Shaler and George J. Albright, used limestone blocks on all of the exterior walls to create a gas and service station building that was distinctly different than other gas stations in Cedar Rapids and as away to attract customers.

Shaler and Albright's business model for the Best Oil Service Station was based on the sale of gasoline and added automobile repairs and services to the business plan. This combination of gasoline sales and repairs and services is different than other automobile related business models of the day. Automobile dealerships that also serviced their vehicles and sold parts and supplies, and retail stores that sold only parts and supplies were also popular. Gas and service station businesses need vehicular access to and from the gas pumps as well as access into the service bays. Pedestrian access was less important than getting vehicles to the gas pumps or service bays. Automobile dealerships require large paved lots for automobile display, service bays for repairs, and a large sales office. Retail stores that only sold automobile parts and supplies just needed an interior space for product display and storage rooms, an office, and small parking lots for their customers.

The building has undergone historic rehabilitation after the 2008 flood using historic tax credits and is now in use. The descriptions listed below are of the building in its current condition with references, where applicable, to the building before rehabilitation. The building had not been used as a gas and service station since the 1960s and is now a take-out restaurant with an outdoor dining area under the original drive through canopy. (NRHP Nomination Form)

Update Log 

  • November 11, 2015: Added by Dave King