Standard Oil Gas Station
The Standard Oil Gas Station is located
at 400 S. West St. in Odell, IL. Owned by the Village of Odell,
the station is open daily 11:00am to 3:00pm for tours and as a
visitor center. Contact Odell Tourism and Community Development
for information at 815-998-2133.
1868, John D. Rockefeller formed the Standard Oil Company in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was the beginning of the Standard
Oil Trust Company that would soon dominate oil refineries and
gas stations around America. In 1890, the Standard Oil Company
set up its first company in Illinois.
In 1932, a
contractor, Patrick O’Donnell, purchased a small parcel of land
along Route 66 in Odell, Illinois. There he built a gas station
based on a 1916 Standard Oil of Ohio design, commonly known as a
domestic style gas station. This “house with canopy” style of
gas station gave customers a comfortable feeling they could
associate with home. This association created an atmosphere of
trust for commercial and recreational travelers of the day.
The station originally sold Standard Oil products, but after
O'Donnell leased the property to others, the station began
selling Sinclair and the now famous Phillips 66. In the late
1940s, O’Donnell added a two-bay garage to the building to
accommodate garage and repair services, which were necessary in
order to stay competitive with the nine other stations that
occupied the short stretch of Route 66 through Odell. The gas
station was in constant use during the heyday of travel on Route
66. It was a welcomed rest stop for weary travelers and a place
for the kids to get out and stretch their legs.
station sold gasoline until the 1960s and then became an auto
body shop until the late 1970s, when it closed its doors for
good. It fell into disrepair and would have been destroyed had
it not been for the town of Odell and the people who loved their
gas station. In 1997, the station was listed in the National
Register of Historic Places. Then, thanks to a collaborative
effort, the Illinois Route 66 Association, the Village of Odell,
Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, the National Park
Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, and Hampton Inn
Landmarks restored the station to its former glory.
Oil sign hanging from the roof swings gently in the warm breeze
and an old-fashioned gas pump looks ready to serve the next
customer. Although Odell's Standard Oil Gas Station no longer
sells gasoline, it has become a welcome center for the Village
of Odell. The station won the National Historic Route 66
Federation Cyrus Avery Award in 2002 for the year’s most
outstanding Route 66 preservation project.