Johnson Service Station

Known Name(s)

Johnson Service Station


Springwood and Dewitt Pl. Asbury Park, NJ

Establishment Type(s)

Service Station

Physical Status



Johnson’s service station was listed simply as located at Springwood and DeWitt Pl (misnamed, as it is DeWitt Avenue) on Asbury Park’s West Side. The 1940 Polk’s Asbury Park City Directory indicated that the “filling station” was on the northeast corner of Springwood and DeWitt. It is unclear what, if any relationship there is between the building at 1323 Springwood today and Mr. Johnson’s business.

Sources: Polk’s Asbury Park City Directory, 1940.

Detailed History

Russell M. Johnson listed his service station in The Green Book from 1939 through 1955. According to his obituary, Mr. Russell, an African-American man born in Springfield, Ohio, moved to Asbury Park around 1935, and lived there until his death in 1965. Mr. Johnson joined other business owners on and around Springwood Avenue in a prominent 1940 advertisement in The Asbury Park Press that urged locals, and African Americans in particular, to patronize their “approved” West Side establishments, rather than be “fooled by downtown propaganda” into traveling east of the railroad tracks to spend their money.

While The Green Book listed the station as on the corner of DeWitt through 1955, Mr. Johnson apparently relocated his business to 1220 Springwood, his new service station taking up a number of lots. The grand opening of Johnson’s Esso Service Center on 5 April 1941 was celebrated in a full-page ad in the Asbury Park Press. This state-of-the-art concrete block building at the corner of Springwood and Borden no longer exists.

Mr. Johnson and other “veteran Esso dealers” were honored at a dinner in Sea Girt in November of 1960 for their long-time affiliation with the company, Mr. Russell for his 20 years with Esso.

Sources: Polk’s Asbury Park City Directory, 1940 and 1950; “Grand Opening,” Asbury Park Press, 4 April 1941; “Russell M. Johnson, Businessman, 58,” Asbury Park Press, 21 November 1965; “Veteran Esso Dealers,” Asbury Park Press, 20 November 1960; “Shop in Springwood Ave. Stores with Confidence. You are Guaranteed: QUALITY MERCHANDISE – LOW PRICES – FAIR DEALING,” Asbury Park Press, 31 May 1940.


J. Shaffer

Related Issues