Saving Irene Woodhouse

Found a fun news clip about Irene Woodhouse today. Or, more accurately, by Irene.

Irene was a historian in Ogden who, for many years, wrote a regular column in the Standard-Examiner called “Ogden Anecdotes.” They were stories about the past, as seen from the 60s and 70. We do stories about the “good old days” of the 60s and 70s, now, and in 30 years they’ll be about those crazy teens of the 21st Century.

Irene's book, published in 1983

Irene’s book, published in 1983

This particular clip is interesting because in it, Irene talks to Clix Swaner, who was also a historical artifact. Clix was born, if my memory serves, about 1899 and died when he was about 102. He saw Ogden go from horses and buggies to jet planes.

Clix ran a gas station at the corner of 27th and Grant, and the building is still there. Irene is talking to him about the Binford-Kimball Motor Company, where Clix worked in the 1920s.

Pumping gasoline back there meant you really did, Clix said. The gasoline pump had a tank on top that you would pump full of gasoline, then allow to drain down into your car.

“The most gas you could pump was five gallons,” he told her. “If someone wanted eight, or something like that, you pumped  five and delivered it, then pumped three more.”

Gradually things improved, he told her. Canopies appeared over the pumps to keep the sun off. Station buildings, at first small, were enlarged and stored supplies for sale and to service cars.

And each oil company had its own line of stations. Irene said she saw an old news clip referring to oil company executives complaining of overbuilding. “He cited Utah as having too many stations, one for every about 18 automobiles.”


Irene’s columns were collected into a book which, apparently, you can still find for sale. Try here on Amazon. (click!)

For more on Clix, click here  (click!).