When we lived in Daytona Beach, FL, (1949-1981) I would pass a WARECO gasoline station as I drove to work each day.

This was the only one I ever saw, even on our travels while doing research.

I often wondered why didn’t I see more of them, and what was the Ware connection to the oil business.


This past week I was looking for  something on Mr. Latane Ware, when I came across this wonderful piece on WARE’S WHARF, from the

Bulletin of the Essex County Museum and Historical Society,

Vol 48 March 2007.  Also found an earlier version,  vol 33, 1988

The item is made up of excerpts from, “Historic Ware’s Wharf”, and titled, “Wares of Ware’s Wharf”, by Carroll M. Garnett

A fantastic article starting with the first Wares in that area and up to the present.

According to this transcript, William Latane Ware, Sr, died November 1925, left the wharf business to his son, William Jr.

William Jr. operated the wharf until steamboats discontinued service on the Rappahannock in the mid thirties.


In 1925, William and his uncle, Catesby Ware of Dunnsville, founded the Ware Oil Company as a distributorship for  Texaco products. The site became a major off loading point for the company’s tankers moving oil products down the Rappahannock.


WWII and the fear of German submarines, put a halt to the oil  business there on the river. The business then operated from Richmond.


In 1931 William sold his interest to Mr. Smith Durham, who ran the business until he sold to Catesby Ware, in 1959.

The descendants of Catesby still own the business with offices in Dunnsville’


All this explains why the WARECO  station later became a Texaco station, and I can sleep better now, knowing all this.




He item concludes with the following:


“The Wares of Ware’s Wharf, over the years, have excelled in such diversified fields as farming, music, medicine, education, pilots of riverboats and aircraft, law, engineering, accounting and public service.

It has been said these Wares are so intrinsically tied to the Rappahannock,

they have salt water running through their veins. This being the case, add to this a substantial portion of pride coupled with a driving spirit in the pursuit of excellence.”


Well put!





  1. Without a doubt, Wareco was owned by Claude Ware and his three sons Richard, John And Bill. My dad farmed for him for over 20 years in Tuscola, Il. He owned them in Florida and Illinois. He flew his own plane down to Florida when he would go see over the stations there. He had relatives that lived in that area. At every grand opening, he gave out licorice candy.. I lived by them from the age of two til age of 20. I am now 71. I would know that WareCo sign anywhere!

  2. There was also a Wareco station in Homestead, FL. I worked there for a brief amount of time in the mid-1990s, before securing the job I have now. The station closed in the early 2000s, but I do not know what it became, as I had moved from the area by that time. I still own my two 32-ounce mugs. I do not use them very often, but they are cool nonetheless.

  3. While rummaging through an old box of ammo, I came across a partial box of WINCHESTER SUPER-X .22 Bullets, with a WARECO PRICE TAG (82$3.19). Curious, I found this site, and found it very interesting. So, this box could be a very rare piece of memorabilia, I should think. If interested, please call 217-732-3871. I will sell only the box, not the ammo. We are located in Lincoln, IL.

  4. I worked at Wareco Service Station on North Main Street in Jacksonville,50 years ago as a senior in high school. We all wore white shirts and black bowties, and no vehicle left the drive without getting the oil checked and the windshield washed even if they only bought a gallon of gas for 34 cents. Ah those were the days…

  5. Interesting stories of Wareco. My dad Lindel worked at the Jacksonville station when he was 16 or so. Used to drive a 57 chevy convertible back in the day. I have been looking for memorabilia from Wareco as far as cans or signs. Anyone have any they would like to sell. I only have a hand painted one for now. Thx bill

  6. Wareco gas stations were started by a great man by the named Claude Ware . My father worked for him he have 4 boys for 30 + years. Claude started with 1 station and grew a company or 100+ stations and oil refinery and several malls … all based on one thing fast friendly service… and you wash every window that enters the lot. Wareco was my first job and I grew up in those stations. I miss them dearly and I miss my father I think of him everytime I hear the name “Wareco”

  7. To Cliff, my Grandfather was the Steele brother you refer to as “Boots”. He was my Mothers Father.



    …TYPED IN WADE….should be “WARE”


  9. O MY GOODNESS! was to read that information left by STEPHEN OETGEN..(2012/04/27) reference JACKSONVILLE ILLINOIS! I was adopted into the STEELE family at age 10. & my father Mr Steele had 3..4? brothers who operated the STEELE BROS TAVERN in that city (65+ years ago)It is today recognized with a bronze plaque on the now deserted site and believe on the registry of historic buildings.(oldest..first, or unknown as to what) The Steele family had many offspring..remember one brother called “BOOTS”..another SKINNY”..RALPH another. I am in my 70’s and have lost tract with most all. Mr JIM Steele just died a few months ago..a son of one of those brothers..don’t know which one. He was to operate a “package good ” liquor) for some years. Seems drinking in Jacksonville was quite a poplar pass time. Both my parents are buried in Jacksonville..and I haven’t been there for decades. No disrespect..just never could go and feel the pain all over again. I do not remember any WADES when I was to visit when the Steele’s took me to visit..we all lived in CHICAGO at the time.Mr Steele worked at the COOK COUNTY (Public) hospital for 40+ years as a X RAY tech..the largest in the nation for some years. Very Small world isn’t it…

  10. Thank you for youre input.
    It’s always good to be able to keep up
    with the times.

  11. Actually, Wareco service stations were owned by a group of Wares who reside in Jacksonville, Illinois. Claude Ware (now deceased) was the founder of that business, which was organized in the 1930’s or 1940’s. It was sold to Clark Retail Group in 2001. Several of the Florida stations changed hands prior to that date.

  12. There was a Wareco gas station in Sanford, FL for many years. Now it is a Sunoco Station. It was located on 17-92 near Lake Monroe

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