Built in 1924 by Robert Chastain of Chastain Oil Co., the Blue Dome service station was modeled after the Hagia Sophia museum in Turkey. It was considered one of the most beautiful stations in the entire southwest upon opening in January 1925.
The station, 202 S. Elgin Ave., could serve 12 cars at a time and was open 24 hours with an attendant who lived onsite inside the dome.
By 1926 the unique architecture and color of the station became somewhat of a landmark for travelers along the newly completed Route 66. The station remained successful despite a change in ownership and renovation to the building’s east side.
By 1932 however, Route 66 was rerouted, no longer bringing the busy route through the heart of downtown but instead along East 11th Street.
The Blue Dome continued as a service station until finally closing its doors in the early 1950s. The structure was converted into the Veterans Bar, a tavern that remained open until 1999. The 17-block Blue Dome Historic District was created in 2003 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Jo and Chris Armstrong, owners of Arnie’s Bar, own the Blue Dome.