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Castle Car Wash

3801 W. Ogden Ave., Chicago
Architect unknown, 1925




Significance: Castle Car Wash was built in 1925 and is the last remaining historic gas station structure on Route 66 (Ogden Avenue) in the city limits. Chicago was the eastern terminus of Route 66. Originally Murphy's Filling Station, the building stopped functioning as a filling station in 1966 and later became a car wash. The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program of the National Park Service recognizes this building, with its unique castle design, as one-of-a-kind along the roadway and in April of 2005, the building was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Current Condition and/or Status:
Castle Car Wash is currently owned by a towing company and is vacant and minimally maintained. In early 2008, due to safety violations, the owner removed the distinctive crenellation at the top of the tower. Castle Car Wash is indicative of a disappearing building type – the uniquely designed early-20th century filling station.

Potential Threat: Interested buyers have approached the owner but have received no response. Community organizations have noted that the building’s size, location, and history are ideal for conversion to a visitor center that would highlight the history of the neighborhood and Route 66. In the meantime, the building continues to deteriorate.

What You Can Do: Contact 24th Ward Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon and request that she work with interested organizations to preserve and re-use this unique Route 66 property.

  • Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon, Office of the 24th Ward, 2100 S. Marshall Blvd., Ste. 801 Chicago, IL 60623 (773-522-2430) (773-522-2437 fax) Sharon.Dixon@cityofchicago.org

Other Contacts: The North Lawndale Office of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), the Lawndale Business and Local Development Corp. (LBLDC) and Route 66 Historian and Author Dave Clark are all interested in preserving Castle Car Wash and would like to see it converted to a new use that may benefit the community.

Photos: (1) Dave G. Clark; (2-4) Janine Wilkosz/Landmarks Illinois






Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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