They call Spencer a ghost town, but I say that there would have to be more town here for it to qualify. This dot on the southwest Missouri map has but one row of buildings, capped by this restored Phillips 66 service station.

Spencer Phillips 66

It’s the last thing you expect to find as you turn onto this old, almost forgotten alignment of the road.

Imagery ©2013 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2013 Google.
Imagery ©2013 DigitalGlobe, USDA Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2013 Google.

Because it is almost forgotten, it still bears the 1924 steel truss bridge I wrote about here and the 1920s concrete pavement I wrote about here. It looks like what is now Highway N used to curve around to follow this alignment, but what is now Highway 96 was built later to be a straighter and truer path for the Mother Road. That must have happened a very long time ago for the bridge never to have been upgraded and the concrete never to have been covered with asphalt. Check out that glorious concrete as it passes by this station.

Spencer Phillips 66

Spencer formed here in the 1870s, with a store, a church, and a post office lining what was then known as Carthage Road. It’s said that by 1912 the old road had become impassable, which hurt the town’s fortunes. The arrival of Route 66 in 1927 led to the concrete pavement and the bridge. It sparked the local economy enough to establish this service station and a few other businesses.

Spencer Phillips 66

This was first a Tydol station; later, it switched to Phillips 66. I imagine that the road brought just enough business here to provide a living for the proprietors, but not enough to make anybody wealthy.

Spencer Phillips 66

The realignment of Route 66 along what is now Highway 96 had to have hurt business, but the construction of nearby I-44 surely killed it. Traffic dried up and soon these businesses closed for good.

Spencer Phillips 66

This restoration is recent, and appears to be ongoing. I’ve seen photos of this building from the past few years that show it boarded up in dereliction and, later, in various stages of restoration. This awning and these gas pumps weren’t there just a couple years ago, for example. The other buildings in this row have been tidied up but it looks like a lot more work can be done to them. Here’s hoping that happens. It’s stops like this, out in the middle of nowhere, that make Route 66 a wonderful museum of 20th-century history.

Check out the restored Standard station on Route 66 in Illinois here.

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week, click here to subscribe!
To get my newsletter with previews of what I’m working on, click here to subscribe!


12 responses to “Restored Phillips 66 service station on Route 66”

  1. davidvanilla Avatar

    Great presentation! I can remember the Phillips 66 halloween signs. I don’t remember 12 cent gas; 19 cent gas, yes, but not 12.

    1. Jim Avatar

      When I started putting gas into cars, it was 89 cents. Adjusted for inflation, that was approximately free.

  2. pesoto74 Avatar

    I do remember seeing gas for around 25 cents when I was a kid. I think it was 40 cents when I first started driving back before the first oil embargo. Its remarkable that this place as not only survived, but is being restored. Hopefully, the increasing popularity of Route 66 will reward their efforts. Looks like they must not have much truck traffic there for the concrete to have survived as well as it has. Around here when farmers started using larger and larger trucks it did in most of the surviving 1920’s concrete roads.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I wonder when current Highway 96 was built. That would be interesting to know. The bigger, heavier trucks also tended to lead to the 1920s metal truss bridges to be replaced, because they were narrow and the big trucks tended to fill them, not leaving room for other traffic.

  3. ryoko861I Avatar

    I love the stone fronts! Adds charm and beauty. You never see that these days on any gas stations!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Nope. Stone was kind of a style of a particular time. Just like the steel enamel gas stations that were built in the 1950s.

  4. The Rider Avatar

    On my Bucket List when the kids are finished with university… they are sponsoring me, they just don’t know it yet!

    1. Jim Avatar

      May it come soon!

  5. […] Phillips 66 Gas Station, em Spencer: logo após a ponte Johnson Creek, do lado direito. Mais um posto de gasolina na Rota 66 em que vale a pena parar e tirar algumas fotos. […]

  6. […] Phillips 66 Gas Station, em Spencer: Posto antigo logo após a ponte Johnson Creek, do lado direito. […]

  7. […] Phillips 66 Gas Station, em Spencer: Posto antigo logo após a ponte Johnson Creek, do lado direito. […]

  8. Pie Avatar

    No address?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: