Woman-owned auto shop in Harvard Square run by Hazel McCartney History Hive: Mrs. McCartney | History Cambridge

#HCHistoryHive, you did it! We asked you to help us find the identity of a well known female mechanic who may have run a Gulf gas station in Brattle Square. This mechanical whiz was able to fix a car by hammering and/or kicking the motor. When asked if her fee was too much for simply roughing up the motor, she said it wasn’t just for kicking, but for knowing where to kick.⠀

Heli M: Mrs. McCartney, the owner of the gas station in the heart of Harvard Sq. was a formidable woman. Tiny, with fluffy white hair, she was always dressed like a doctor in a white coat and holding a clipboard. Although small and female in a man’s world, she spoke commandingly. She would telephone my mother and say ”Mrs. Spiegel, I’m sending a man to pick up your car – it’s time for your oil change.” or some procedure she’d kept track of. The car would duly be whisked away and returned a few hours later. In return, my mother got her gas at the station. She’d drive in and say, getting out of the car, “Fill her up while I run across the street to pick up a lipstick at Woolworths.” And they would. Parking spaces in the Square were as difficult to find in the 1950s and 60s as they are now.