The transition from horse and buggy to the automobile posed some interesting challenges, such as how to park, how to handle increased and faster-moving traffic, and how to provide fuel for motorized vehicles. Early filling stations became common as automobiles gained popularity, and generally consisted of a gas pump next to a small building (there are a few of these still around).
Service stations followed soon after, but really took off in the post-WWII economy to service greater numbers of automobiles. Providing both fuel and mechanical repair, the service station consists of a main building housing the retail portion, where customers pay for services, along with one or more service bays, where mechanics repair vehicles.
Fuel pumps sit away from the main building, sometimes sheltered by a canopy, which is either attached to the main building or is freestanding. In the 1950s and 1960s, these buildings and canopies commonly took on an angular, swooping form, similar to drive-in restaurants of the era.