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Location: 1249 E. Eighth St.
Survey Number: HPS-477
Year Built: 1922
Architectural Style: Commercial Box

The 1922 Marlatt's Garage building is significant for its association with the Bankhead National Highway, the main route south from the Salt River Valley; with the Gililland family and Eugene Marlatt; and as a rare surviving example of a once common building type, automotive service station.

This segment of Old 8th Street was the main route between Tempe and Mesa as early as 1892. In 1915, this section of roadway was the first in Maricopa County to be paved with tar macadam, known at the time as Tarvia. In February 1919, this alignment was chosen to be part of the state highway system, and was linked to the Bankhead National Highway, a national highway that would eventually run from Washington, D.C. to San Diego. Arizona's portion of the highway was known as a "model section" and the Tempe Town Council voted to pay for paving the part that ran through Tempe. This section of roadway remained part of the Bankhead Highway from 1920 until the mid-1930s, when the Mill Avenue Bridge and the curve on Apache Boulevard were completed. This was the main route south from the Salt River Valley and Marlatt’s Garage was once the busiest repair shop on the highway from Phoenix to Tucson.

The property was constructed in 1922 by Clyde Gililland, a lifelong resident of Tempe who owned and operated Gililland Motor Co. Garage here before relocating the business to East University Drive. His civic activities included serving as a member of the Tempe City Council for over 30 years (c. 1930-1961), a term as mayor (1960-1961), and serving as a member of the Tempe Elementary School District 3 Board of Education, of which he was president several times. This property is also significantly associated with Eugene Marlatt, who owned the property from 1933 and operated the service station business until 1973. Marlatt owned the property until his death in 1981.

The building reflects the industrial character of this neighborhood which was historically considered to be east of town. It lacks high style detailing and most of the historic fabric remains intact. Very few such garages and gas stations have survived in Tempe and the Salt River Valley. Because it is a rare surviving example of a once common building type, it is considered individually eligible, and due to the rarity of this type of resource, it is important to preserve and protect those which do remain.

Tempe History Museum, Historic Property Survey - Marlatt's Garage

Tempe History Museum, Historic Property Survey - Bankhead Highway/Old 8th Street

Tempe History Museum, Historic Property Survey - Clyde Gililland House

Last updated: 5/1/2012 2:06:33 PM