You may have seen many different variations of vintage “Buffalo Gasoline” advertising signs, but what most people don’t know is that two different companies marketed their gasoline under the Buffalo Gasoline brand.
In 1913, R.J. Coughlin was a Montana homesteader who operated a livery and auto repair business in Scobey, Montana. The sale of gasoline became a necessary part of his business and as a result, the Scobey Oil Company was formed. In 1919, a merger of three oil companies in the area resulted in the Westland Oil Company. The company’s home office moved to Minot, South Dakota in 1928 and operated refineries in Cut Bank and Kevin, Montana. Operating exclusively in the surrounding areas, Westland marketed its gasoline under the Buffalo Gasoline brand with its mascot “Billy Buffalo.”
This Westland Oil Filling Station in Minot, North Dakota was built in 1929. The gas station still stands to this day and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Up north in Canada, Prairie Cities Oil Company Limited out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, also marketed gasoline and other oil products under the Buffalo brand from at least 1930 through 1938.
Sources show that Prairie Cities Oil Company Limited was in operation from at least 1912 until 1938, when it was acquired by North Star Oil Limited (also a Winnipeg based company), which was founded in 1919 with refining and marketing operations throughout Western Canada. North Star Oil also continued to market gasoline under the Buffalo Gasoline brand for at least a couple of years following the Prairie Cities acquisition.