The historic Sprague’s Super Service station in Normal, Illinois, likely will reopen as a Route 66 visitors center by April after the city spent many thousands of dollars to improve the property.
According to the Bloomington Pantagraph, the city will have spent about $600,000 on the project — including purchasing the property itself — by spring.
The newspaper talked to city manager Mark Peterson about the project:
“Most of the work that’s going to happen over the winter months is going to happen inside: some remodeling of the restrooms, some (Americans with Disabilities Act) issues … and then the gift shop itself,” Peterson said.
“Most of the exterior work is done. We’re working on old-fashioned replica gas pumps out front and signage and landscaping that will be outdoors,” he continued. “That will be in the spring.”
The building’s parking lot has already been rebuilt. Work also includes “demolition of the non-original additions to the south and west sides of the building,” according to information from Normal Communications Director Dan Irvin.
The project is being paid by a one-cent sales tax that took effect early this year.
The city of Normal bought the property in May from Terri Ryburn, who had purchased it almost 10 years before and landed several grants to stabilize and improve the structure. She will run the station’s gift shop and live in its upstairs apartment for $120 a year.
Sprague Super Service was built in 1931 on Route 66 by William Sprague. It was a unique in it was designed as a gas station and residence. It originally sold City Service gas but became other businesses by the 1940s, and the pumps were removed by 1979. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.