Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Petrolane Gas Company

In 1954, New Orleans architect F. Monroe Labouisse (1911-98) designed a showroom addition for the Petrolane Gas Company, located at 1352 Jefferson Highway in Jefferson, Louisiana.* Tulane University professor Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. credited this structure with being the impetus for his pursuing a career in the offices of Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse.

The showroom was completed in less than four months, quickly garnering the praise of the Times-Picayune. The Alec F. Leonhardt Construction Company built the suspension structure elevated 7.5' above ground level. Two low-hanging steel arches rising 22' feet supported the 65 x 12' glass display box. Consumers could park their vehicles right underneath the showroom.

Petrolane Gas Company president Louis Abramson, Jr. proudly inaugurated the "one of a kind" showroom with a two-day celebration in October 1954. Executives representing various oil and appliance companies were present for the festivities. Photographers Leon Trice and Charles L. Franck captured images of the elegant building shortly after its completion.

Petrolane was a liquified petroleum gas that could be used to run driers, freezers, heaters, plumbing fixtures, ranges, refrigerators, and washing machines. Such appliances were on display in Labouisse's glass box.

Read more:

"Bold Design Presents Suspended Glass Room." The Times-Picayune 30 May 1954.

"Firm Will Open New Showroom."  The Times-Picayune 1 October 1954.

Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. Correspondence with Francine Stock. "Modernism : Lost and FOUND!" Regional Modernism :: The New Orleans Archives Blog. 27 July 2009. As viewed 18 November 2014. URL: http://www.regional-modernism.com/2009/07/mystery-solved.html

*Address later changed to 917 Jefferson Highway.

Image above:  F. Monroe Labouisse, architect. Petrolane Gas Company Showroom Addition, 1352 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, Louisiana. 1954.  F. Monroe Labouisse Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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