The Development of the 1500-block Commercial

From the earliest days of Grandview’s development, the lots on the southeast corner of Commercial and Grant were owned by the Odlum family. Professor Odlum, the pioneering patriarch of the family, built himself a large house on Grant Street, leaving the lots along Commercial vacant, paying taxes on them and keeping them neat.

In this late 1935 photograph taken by the Professor’s son Edward Faraday Odlum (and available courtesy of Ruth Raymond) the view is from the northwest corner of Commercial looking SE across the street. The Odlum house can be seen and pedestrians are walking beside the Odlum lawns on Commercial.

The Odlums finally sold the lots at the end of 1935 and in January 1936 Signal Oil began excavating the lawns to prepare for the gas station they were going to build.

In this early 1936 image (again from E.F. Odlum, courtesy Ruth Raymond), the photograph is taken from the Odlum House looking west. The stores are on the westside of Commercial and the machine can be seen excavating the eastside lawns. The Signal Oil gas station had its formal opening in May 1936.

A year or so later, E.F. Odlum snapped another shot from his house, again looking west (once again we must thank Ruth Raymond for the image). The forecourt of the gas station can be seen beyond the wooden fence. There was a gas station on that corner — under various names and owners — until 1972 at which time the lot was completely changed.

This modernist building was completed in 1973 and the TD Bank was the principal tenant. The Odlum house can still be seen peeking out at the left of the photograph. Today, this structure houses different business and this is a recents StreetView shot:

Quite the change from the quiet lawns of the 1920s and 1930s!