The site of the Shea’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is back up for sale, but the owner still is considering acquiring a business partner to help keep its Route 66 look.
Tim Landis, business editor of the Springfield State Journal-Register, reported on the change in his weekly column:
Owner Randy Pickett said plans for a Route 66-themed auto-repair shop did not work out, but that he is considering taking on another partner.
“As long as I have it, it’s going to take on a Route 66 theme,” Pickett said.
Pickett and then-partner Jake Niewold announced their plans for a Route 66 repair shop in April and had planned to reopen the site by summer. More than six months later, it never reopened.
Bill Shea, longtime curator of Shea’s Gas Station Museum at 2075 Peoria Road (aka Roue 66), died at age 91 in December 2013. He converted a Marathon station on Route 66 into a museum filled with gas-station memorabilia that included a 1920s station he moved from Middletown, Illinois. Shea greeted thousands of Route 66 travelers from dozens of countries over the decades.
Much of Shea’s memorabilia was auctioned in November 2015 after the heirs tried to sell the property and its contents. Fulgenzi’s Pizza and Pasta bought the Middletown station and moved it down the road there last year.
The north end of Springfield reportedly saw a drop in Route 66 in tourism in 2015. City officials cited the closing of Shea’s museum as a primary reason.
On a related note, Landis’ column also noted the city approved a tax-increment financing district for Route 66 in north Springfield. Long-term, city officials hope to set up a Route 66 museum and visitors center in the area. But the higher priority for now is improving the district’s aging infrastructure
(Image of Shea’s Gas Station Museum in 2007 by Sandor Weisz via Flickr)