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)
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