The public is welcome to check out The Mill Car Cruise-In this Saturday, September 13th from 1pm-4pm as part of a weekend of additional activities at the old historic restaurant located at 738 S. Washington in Lincoln, IL. The annual meeting of the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, the group that owns the historic site, is also one of the last events of the season for, and co-sponsored by, The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club. On Saturday and Sunday there will be a variety of vendors taking part in the first of monthly weekend flea markets during seasonal the Spring-Fall. Another vendor market is scheduled at The Mill for Sat-Sun, Oct 25 & 26 from 9am-4pm. Spaces are still available for $10 to $15 dollars a day for this weekend and the October market.
Admission for visitors is free and as always donations are welcome. Vehicle registration for the Cruise-In is $5.00, with all proceeds going to saving The Mill. There will also be a 50/50 drawing, live acoustic music from special guest performers, and a special lunch meal on sale by Hallie's Restaurant, which is owned by Brian Huffman, a descendant of the Huffman family who owned the restaurant in its heyday. Tours will also be available of the landmark. The City of Lincoln is also bringing over The Tropics sign for photo opportunities on Saturday during the car cruise-in.
Another feature this year will be live musical performances by area bands, The Runner Ups and The Howell, from 4pm-6pm on Saturday. “We’re trying out some ideas to multi-purpose the facility here at The Mill, while the restoration process continues,” said Rt. 66 Heritage Foundation board member, Geoff Ladd. “We’ll run a Vendor Market with a variety of flea market items, crafts, specialty products and antiques on a monthly basis from May-Oct, headed up by our new member, Andrea Dykman. We’re also having these bands play to test the waters on whether the building would be good acoustically as a possible sound studio.” The group is also planning a crowd sourcing campaign soon to help raise the remaining estimated $50,000 to finish restoring The Mill into a museum.
The Mill in Lincoln opened in 1929 on old Route 66 under the name of the Blue Mill, on Stringer Avenue. The proprietor was Paul Coddington, who would serve patrons grilled sandwiches at any hour of the day or night. A Dutch themed building with blue trim, it featured at revolving windmill and waitresses dressed in blue with white aprons. In 1945, Albert and Blossom Huffman purchased the building, added a barroom and dance hall, and then painted the building barn red. Over the years, the restaurant became famous for the fried schnitzel, originally made of veal, and later of pork. By the mid 1980’s the Mill had lost most of the Dutch themed interior, and was becoming a museum of rather strange objects, including a mechanical leg protruding from a hole in the ceiling. The Mill closed as a restaurant in 1996.
Efforts began to restore the building in 2006, and have included a who’s who of volunteers from all over Lincoln and Logan County as well as the state, through the Route 66 Association of Illinois and the Route 66 Preservation Committee headed by John Weiss. The Mill has received local donations from Lincoln Philanthropist Larry Van Bibber, The Danner Trust Fund, Eaton Corporation, Lincoln Rotary, Railsplitter Antique Auto Club, several anonymous donations and many other contributions. Grants and additional assistance and support have been received by The National Park Service, Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, Route 66 Association of Illinois, Land of Lincoln Regional Tourism Development Office and the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. The facility also is on the restoration list at Landmarks Illinois and was inducted into the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame. It is a 501-C3 tax deductible organization. “Thanks to a very special anonymous donation, we will also have on sale Made in the USA t-shirts with our brand new Mill on 66 logo on them,” said Geoff Ladd. Other collectible items will also be on sale to raise funds for the eventual Route 66 museum. “We are also dedicating this event to the late Mike Fak, who passed away recently and was the group’s treasurer and also the restorer of the beautiful wood floor downstairs at The Mill. We have had great donations and grants from several organizations and individuals – thanks to all of them,” said Ladd. For more info email to email@example.com or call 217-671-3790.
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The Mill in Lincoln opened in 1929 under the name of the Blue Mill, on Stringer Avenue. It’s proprietor was Paul Coddington, who would serve patrons grilled sandwiches at any hour of the day or night. A Dutch themed building with blue trim, it featured at revolving windmill and waitresses dressed in blue with white aprons. In 1945, Albert and Blossom Huffman purchased the building, added a barroom and dance hall, and then painted the building barn red. Over the years, the restaurant became famous for it’s fried schnitzel, originally made of veal, and later of pork. By the mid 1980’s the Mill had lost most of the Dutch themed interior, and was becoming a museum of rather strange objects, including a mechanical leg protruding from a hole in the ceiling. The Mill closed in 1996, however the building is still standing in its original location.
New Hope for Old Mill
Route 66 Heritage Association of Logan County
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