Shea’s Gas Station Museum in Springfield, IL is the Latest Illinois Route 66 Iconic Attraction to Go on Sale
WICS-TV News Channel 20 in Springfield officially broke the story on 11/23/14 that Bill Shea’s Gas Station Museum on Route 66 in Springfield is up for sale. Speculation of this fact has been swirling since the death of Bill Shea Sr. last year at the age of 91.
Yesterday, Bill Shea Jr. made it official in a story broadcast by reporter Evan Peterson. Shea’s plans for selling the world-famous museum at this time are through “word of mouth”. In the interview, Shea Jr and his daughter explained they don’t have the resources within the family to keep the museum open. It is unclear if the museum will be sold as a whole or parceled out in portions and whether it will remain in its original location.
Also unclear is the price tag for the iconic gas station museum, which has been visited by “hundreds of thousands” of people over the years. The WICS story (http://www.wics.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_19935.shtml) also mentioned how important the museum has become for people living in the neighborhood.
The Illinois Route 66 attraction is not the only highly visible part of the Mother Road that is up for sale. Back in July, it was announced that the giant Brooks Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, IL is now for sale. Southern Illinois news outlets reported a price tag of $500,000 for this attraction, with some reports indicating that Oscar Mayer may be interested in buying it (Riverfront Times, 7/31/14).
The phenomenon is not a new one for Illinois Route 66, with several attractions going on the chopping block over the years, some of which have been sold and some not, including The World’s Largest Covered Wagon (Divernon), The Mill Restaurant (Lincoln), The Tropics Restaurant (Lincoln), and the Bunyan’s Statue (Cicero).
“At best, if these major attractions go up for sale, we hope they stay where they are on Route 66, or at least remain in a Route 66 Illinois community,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. “These attractions are an important reason why people from all over the world are visiting Route 66 in the state,” he said. The World’s Largest Covered Wagon was sold in 2007 and moved from Divernon to the Route 66 community of Lincoln and Bunyan’s Statue was reportedly rescued from eBay and relocated to the vibrant Illinois Route 66 community of Atlanta. The fate of other attractions remains unclear.