The Odell Station is a notable landmark that holds historical significance as a former gas station along Route 66.
Built in 1932 by Patrick O'Donnell, the station was initially constructed using the "House and Canopy" or "Domestic" style, incorporating a gabled house with a gabled canopy, which was a design trend of that time.
Patrick O'Donnell began by selling Standard Oil gasoline at the station. However, the station's ownership and brand affiliations shifted over time. O'Donnell eventually switched to selling Phillips 66 and Sinclair products. In 1952, he rented the station to Robert Close, who not only operated the gas station but also ran a cafe adjacent to it. Following O'Donnell's passing, Robert Close purchased the station.
Under Close's ownership, the station continued to sell gas until the 1970s. It then transitioned into a repair shop, reflecting the changing demands of the community and the automotive industry. After closing it's doors in 1975 the Village of Odell eventually took ownership of the gas station in 1999 with the intention of restoring it.
The Illinois Route 66 Preservation Committee played a significant role in restoring the Odell Station to its former glory. Today, the station operates as a welcome center and visitor attraction, open daily from 11:00am to 3:00pm. It provides tours and serves as a hub for tourists and enthusiasts of Route 66, where visitors can learn about the history of the station, Route 66, and the surrounding area.
The Odell Station's journey from a gasoline sales point to a repair shop and eventually a restored visitor center showcases the resilience of historical landmarks and the efforts made by communities to preserve their heritage. It's a testament to the enduring legacy of Route 66 and its impact on American culture and travel.