By Patrick Baron
NORMAL – A dream over a decade old is becoming a reality later tonight, as Terri Ryburn prepares for the grand opening of Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service.
Ryburn has spent the last decade renovating and restoring the Tudor Revival building at 305 Pine Street in Normal, which is one of five two-story gas stations left along Route 66. Ryburn said when she toured the building and saw the historical value, she couldn’t let it face a wrecking ball.
“I had retired and I had my retirement home, everything was all set – and then I saw it was for sale,” explained Ryburn. “I came and looked at it and I thought ‘this is a grand old building, a Route 66 icon’, and I was afraid it might meet the wrecking ball if I didn’t buy it, so I bought it.”
Ryburn’s dream became a project that was noticed by the community. The Normal City Council partnered with Ryburn to assist her in the renovations and people began to voice their support of Ryburn’s project. Ryburn recalled how those who backed the project gave her the boost she needed to keep the dream alive.
“You know when people would recognize the importance of it, that gave me another little boost to keep going,” said Ryburn. “So it’s just wonderful that the town and I are now partnering on this.”
Normal mayor Chris Koos will be present for the ribbon cutting ceremony starting at 6 p.m. Festivities such as a parking lot concert from the local band, Wagon Load A Trouble, and the unveiling of the National Register of Historic Places Plaque will continue until 9 p.m.
Patrick Baron can be reached at email@example.com.