Like other small entrepreneurs of the time, Sprague took a different approach. A building contractor, he constructed his large, unique, brick, Tudor Revival gas station using high-quality materials and craftsmanship. The result, Sprague’s Super Service, appeared to be part manor house and part gas station, and sold City Service gas. Steep gables distinguished the broad, red roofline. Substantial brick peers supported the canopy. Stucco with decorative swirls and contrasting half timbering distinguished the second story.
Throughout the 1930s, most people passing through Bloomington-Normal from north or south traveled Pine Street. Traffic was heavy enough to support both Sprague’s and, just across the street, Snedaker’s Station and Bill’s Cabins, another 1930s service station jointly administered with a lodging operation. Pine Street’s heyday was short lived, though. In 1940, the new four-lane Route 66 opened around the east side of Bloomington, siphoning through-traffic off of East Pine Street. Some traffic still took the Business Route 66 into Normal, so the station remained open, but the property changed hands many times as each new owner sought business opportunities with more appeal for local clientele.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.