Route 66 News

Wanted: A restorer of signs for Soulsby Station

The owner of the historic Soulsby Station along old Route 66 in Mount Olive, Illinois, is looking for a sign contractor who can do some restoration work on the main Shell sign in front of the station.

We happened to be driving a few dozen miles of old 66 in Illinois on Sunday evening when we glow of lights streaming from the station’s windows, as if it were operating again. It was Mike Dragovich doing touch-up work on the station to get it ready for tourism season. He said he’s already greeted several European travelers who’ve stopped in recent days.

The Shell sign in front of the station is looking ragged, and Dragovich acquired replacement parts for it. He’s looking for someone who can do a proper restoration of the sign. If you know someone in central Illinois who can, call him at 217-622-6443 or email gdrago(at)madisontelco(dot)com.

If you haven’t stopped at the station, it’s worth your time to see all the artifacts in it, including when the station was a repair shop for televisions and radios.

Dragovich also is selling a few souvenirs — including T-shirts — and has a donations jar to help keep the station maintained.

Henry Soulsby built the station in 1926 — the same year Route 66 was certified. His son, Russell Soulsby, took over the station for many years. Even after Interstate 55 arrived west of town, the station continued to run until 1993. Soulsby later sold the station to Dragovich, who lives next door to it. Russell Soulsby died in 1999. The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 and received a preservation cost-share grant about that time from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

(Main shot of Soulsby Station by Larry Myhre via Flickr; other photos by Emily Priddy)

One thought on “Wanted: A restorer of signs for Soulsby Station

  1. Tod Swormstedt

    Not sure what restoration the sign needs, but if the face is cracked–and it’s difficult to tell from the photo–there’s really nothing to be done. If it’s a matter of new fluorescent lamps and/or ballasts, any sign company could handle it or even the local electrician.

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