Odell, Illinois, a village between Wilmington and Pontiac saw the original Route 66 alignment pass straight through the downtown district. It was a busy stretch of the road and trucks and cars passed through constantly.
In 1932, Patrick O'Donnell built the petrol station using a style referred to as "House and Canopy" – a gabled house with a gabled canopy. The garage bays would come later. O'Donnell sold Standard Oil gasoline and oil, but later switched to Phillips 66 and Sinclair, so had various affiliations. In 1952, the owner of the cafe next door took over the station eventually buying it upon O’Donnell’s death.
Prior to that, as traffic increased due to WWII, congestion in these smaller communities was proving dangerous, so local authorities decided to bypass them and upgrade the highway to a four-lane. The original road was left intact, and it became known as "City 66." Standard Oil Gasoline Station continued to sell gas and do repairs until the 1970s and was eventually sold to the Village of Odell in 1999 for restoration. Odell and the property were recipients of the National Historic Route 66 Federation Cyrus Avery Award in 2002 for the year’s most outstanding Route 66 preservation project.
Today, the station operates as a welcome and visitor center - another icon of Route 66’s hey day. Travelling through, you’ll find it hard to picture the road packed with vehicles.