Built in 1932, the Standard Oil Gasoline Station in Odell, Illinois served travelers on Route 66 for thirty years. The station operated first as a gas station and then later added repair bays allowing it to offer mechanic services. Adding the mechanic services allowed it to expand its value to motorists, making it a one-stop shop. It was a popular stop for motorists.
Unfortunately, Interstate 55 bypassed the town of Odell when it was built, which in turn reduced the number of travelers coming into the city. The Odell Station didn’t fare as well as nearby stations, and its pumps stopped in the 1960s. From there, it mostly drifted in purpose, finally becoming an auto repair station until it closed in 1999. The village of Odell purchased the station and restored it, bringing it back to an early 1940s appearance. The gas station is well preserved and once again sees plenty of tourists in its new role as a visitor center.
Walking into it is walking back in time. Some of the original equipment and furnishings are still there on display. You can still smell the grease in the air, and you can almost hear the mechanics working on the cars as quick as they can. Getting cars back on the road as quickly as possible was the goal.
The Odell Station, like all gas stations of the time, was run by an individual and not by a company or a corporation. It was up to the owner to provide the best service possible, and the service was always top-notch. The Odell Station was no exception.