Iconic gas station closes in Arlington Heights

6 p.m. Thursday marked the end of an era in Arlington Heights, as Grandt's Shell service station closed its doors.

Longtime customers, family, friends and Grandt's four daughters bid a fond farewell with a car parade Thursday at the station, 406 E. Northwest Hwy.

"It's just time to go," owner Craig Grandt said. "We still have a lot of clients. I didn't want to go out struggling; we can go out high."

The Arlington Heights Park District in August struck a deal to purchase the service station - a property it has sought for decades as part of a vision to expand Recreation Park.

The deal includes the service station's iconic rooftop rocket.

"It's our trademark," said Grandt, whose father, Roger, built it out of two 30-gallon oil drums in the 1960s as a tribute to the U.S.-Soviet space race and Shell's premium gasoline, which was nicknamed "rocket fuel."

Founded by Virgil Horath, the station dates back to 1928. Roger Grandt, who worked as a mechanic for Horath, bought the station in 1960. Craig Grandt took over around 2001, and his father died in 2011 at age 85.

• Daily Herald staff writers Christopher Placek and Burt Constable contributed to this report.

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  Friends and family wished Craig Grandt well with a car parade through his gas station Thursday evening in Arlington Heights. Mark Welsh/
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