West End Service Station
For nearly four decades West End Station served as a bustling automobile service station on America’s iconic Route 66 which ran through the heart of Edwardsville. Travelers and locals frequented the station to re-fuel, get an oil change, check their tires, and enjoy a cold soda.
In 1927, Edwardsville resident Henry Springer established Springer’s Madison Oil Co. here at the corner of St. Louis and West Streets and built a small brick structure with a canopy and two Texaco fuel pumps.
In 1936, the name changed to the West End Service Station, and was operated by Robert Smith and Ralph Ladd. It featured Mobil gas and oil products and boasted that a new hydraulic hoist and air pressure lubrication system had been installed.
In 1939, the West End Service Station closed temporarily for the repaving of Route 66 through Edwardsville when the existing brick pavement was pulverized and replaced with concrete. West End Service Station used this opportunity to make improvements to the facility. The old building was demolished and a larger, more modern building — the one you see today — was constructed. The new station re-opened on August 5, 1939, under the management of Edwardsville residents Ralph and Earl Ladd. With its ideal location on this prime Route 66 corner, in the stylish “West End” of Edwardsville, the West End Service Station was a hive of activity.
In 1961, the West End Service Station was purchased by Ralph Ellsworth, who operated Ralph’s Mobil Service Station, offering washing, greasing, brake work, tires, batteries, wheel balancing, and of course, fuel. As his business grew, Ellsworth moved his service station to a larger lot down West Street at the corner of Schwarz Street.
In the summer of 1964, around the time that I-55 bypassed Edwardsville, ending the Route 66 era, the building was purchased by a local dentist, Dr. Robert Marks. For the next 55 years, it served as an office to a series of dentists — Dr. Robert Marks, Dr. Dale Claussen and Dr. Beau Moody — giving new meaning to the term “filling station.” In the fall of 2022, the City of Edwardsville purchased the West End Service Station at a public auction to create this Route 66 historic site and visitor center, in conjunction with the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau.
West End Station is one of Edwardsville’s few remaining Route 66 landmarks and one of the last original Route 66 service stations in nearly sixty miles.