NORMAL (Heartland Newsfeed) — The grand opening of Ryburn Place, the gift shop and information center at the historic Sprague’s Super Service station in Normal, Illinois, will be from 6-9pm Aug. 12th. Terri Ryburn, who undertook the restoration of the unique gas station for over a decade before the city finished the job, sold the historic building to the City of Normal about a year ago, and the city has been completing the project. The historic site is located at 305 E. Pine St. in Normal.
“Thanks to the Town of Normal who share my vision of restoring this building to its former glory, I am opening a Route 66 information center and gift shop on the first floor,” said Ryburn. “Featured will be Route 66 t-shirts, postcards, books, and memorabilia. Also featured is the work of local artists: original watercolors and prints, photographs, handmade cards, hand-dyed silk scarves, hand-woven baskets, creative crochet, and more.”
On Saturday evening, there will be an official ribbon cutting and unveiling of the National Register of Historic Places plaque, followed by a parking lot concert, with local favorites, Wagon Load A Trouble. A food truck will be on hand for the event.
“One of the great things about the Mother Road is that attractions on the Road are able to re-invent themselves while still preserving their Route 66 essence. Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service is a wonderful example of this phenomena,” said William Kelly, executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
The City of Normal and the City of Bloomington have also been busy adding Historic Route 66 directional signs in the twin cities, making the navigation of the historic road much easier to follow.
The unique structure opened in 1931 to serve travelers on Route 66. Built by William Sprague, it housed a cafe, a Cities Service gas station and garage, with upstairs apartments for the owner and station attendant. The building was uniquely designed as a gas station and residence. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a Town of Normal Local Landmark, and is in the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.
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