Soulsby’s Route 66 Shell Service Station is the oldest, most original station (along the route in Illinois) that has not been completely rebuilt. In 1926 Henry Soulsby opened his gas station on what was the far western edge of Mt. Olive. He intended to capitalize on the opening of the nation’s ﬁrst transnational highway U.S. Route 66.
However, the road took a different route than Soulsby anticipated. But four years later, Route 66 was relocated and zipped right in front of his station. Henry Soulsby’s children, Olga and Russell, took over the operation, which included a TV repair business: They operated the station until their deaths, and the
station closed around 1990. The shuttered pit stop was sold at auction in 1997 along with many Shell mementos.
A handful of volunteers turned the roadside distraction into a roadside attraction re-creating the Soulsby’s of the l950’s with sunshine yellow pumps and matching yellow and red stripes along the base of the small landmark. The inside of the station will be restored later, when funds are available. The station is one block east and one block south of Mt. Olive schools.
Soulsby Service Station is also in the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame. The station is a frequent stop for many visitors from the U.S. and foreign countries.