Bowman & Tyrrell Garage

The Shell Gas Station Building on Lansing Street in Mendocino. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

July 26, 1924 – The Mendocino Beacon reported that the Bowman & Tyrrell garage had been painted a gorgeous yellow and red. The Shell Oil Company was painting all the local garages that sold their products in the company’s vivid colors.

The previous year, George Daniels tore down the original livery stable on the site to make way for an automobile garage. This structure was one of the largest garages on the coast, measuring 98 feet along Albion Street with 86 feet of frontage on Lansing. The building is single story with a remarkably engineered roof that spans 90 feet without ground supports. The roof and exterior walls were covered in corrugated metal to provide protection from fire. The stepped false front wall was also clad in metal, but stamped to mimic cut-stone blocks.

Daniels’ first tenant in July 1923 was James Bowman. In early 1924, Charles Tyrrell teamed up with Bowman to conduct a garage and auto repair business. Gas pumps stood on the east side of the building next to the unpaved Lansing Street. Tires, motor oil, and other automobile accessories were available for purchase. Bowman and Tyrrell also added a large window in front, where a show room displayed several Chevrolet cars. The school district’s busses were stored inside.

In 1937, Bowman sold his interest in the business to Tyrrell, who operated the garage as a sole proprietor, assisted by his daughter Helen, until his death in 1957 at the age of 70. Helen continued to operate the business with assistance from mechanic Lawrence Rodgers. It ceased to be a gas station about 1983.

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