Remember These Old Car Washes?

Over the past fifty years, residents had several locations where they could get their cars washed. How many do you remember?

Garden Market Auto Wash – circa 1971
Garden Market Auto Wash – circa 1971

If you live in Western Springs today, getting your washed probably means a trip to Brookfield, Countryside, Hinsdale, or Westmont. But, it wasn’t always that way.

When the Garden Market Shopping Center was planned in 1958, there was a large tract of unused property behind the barber shop at the southwest corner of the property. Soon, village residents were patronizing the town’s first automatic car wash. See first photo. The price of a car wash in 1971 was $2.50. And, only $1.50 with a 16-gallon gasoline purchase. In the early 1980’s, a new owner introduced a more modern cloth system and changed the name to the “Tower Car Wash”. 

Then, there was the Texaco station on Hillgrove Avenue, which installed a smaller automatic car wash in one of its bays back in the 1970’s. Today, the site is home to the Community Bank of Western Springs,

And, in 1977, after a lengthy zoning approval process, the Amoco station at Hillgrove and Wolf Road was allowed to add an automatic car wash. But, because of concerns that Wolf Road might be blocked by waiting cars, the station was required to use its adjacent parking lot as a holding area. Automobiles entered the car wash at the north end of the station and exited south onto Hillgrove Avenue.

Fast forward to 1988 and the Tower Luxury Car-care at 47th and Gilbert. While not an automatic car wash, the business offered excellent hand car washes, custom detailing, polishing, and waxing (see second photo).

Sadly, all of these businesses are no longer in operation. And, while many of today’s residents may think little about taking their salt-covered cars to other suburbs for a wash, those who recall these earlier times truly miss the convenience these businesses provided.

Each week, the Western Springs Historical Society presents a “Blast from the Past”. To view prior stories, visit us at www.westernspringshistory.org.  



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