Nestled in the heart of Springfield, Illinois, Shea's Gas Station Museum stands as a testament to the bygone era of automotive charm and roadside culture. This unique museum, founded by Bill Shea, offers visitors a nostalgic journey back in time, showcasing a remarkable collection of vintage gas station memorabilia and classic cars.
The story of Shea's Gas Station Museum begins with Bill Shea's passion for preserving the rich history of roadside Americana. Bill, a lifelong automobile enthusiast, started collecting vintage gas station artifacts and classic cars in the 1960s. As his collection grew, so did his dream of creating a museum that would allow visitors to experience the charm and nostalgia of a bygone era.
Shea's Gas Station Museum officially opened its doors in 2002, housed in a building that dates back to the 1930s. The museum features a carefully curated assortment of antique gas pumps, oil cans, signage, and a remarkable array of classic cars that span several decades. Each exhibit is thoughtfully arranged to evoke the feel of a mid-20th-century gas station, transporting visitors to a simpler time.
After the passing of Bill Shea in July of 2023, many of the items in the collection were auctioned off. The Mahan's Filling Station, a centerpiece of the original Museum, was moved in 2016 to ‘Fulgenzi's Pizza and Pasta’, just a few blocks away where it remains today. Other original pieces can be found at ‘Route 66 Motorheads Bar & Grill’. The City of Springfield contracted with Ace Sign Co. to recreate the iconic signage seen in the windows, the building letters, and to craft a life-size cutout of Bill Shea so his legacy and contributions to the preservation of history will never be forgotten.