According to Geoff Ladd of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of
Logan County and the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County,
The Mill will be inducted into the Route 66 Motor Tour Association
of Illinois Hall of Fame at their annual banquet in Springfield this
Each year the association asks for nominations of Route
66 landmarks into their Hall of Fame. Ladd said he thought that this
was the proper year to nominate The Mill, as it is the 80th
anniversary of the restaurant, and restoration efforts are nearing a
He said that having his nomination selected was quite an honor
for Lincoln and The Mill.
As a Hall of Fame inductee, the Heritage Foundation will be
awarded a plaque that will later be on display at the restaurant.
Ladd said that since beginning the restoration of The Mill, the
Illinois association has been very supportive. He said that many
from that group have volunteered their time to work on projects and
that they are responsible for the entire restoration of the sails
for the windmill.
He also wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Ernie Edwards, the
owner of the Pig Hip in Broadwell, for getting the ball rolling
when, upon meeting Ladd for the first time, he stated quite clearly,
"You've got to save that Mill!"
That was in 2005, and since that day, The Mill has spent a lot of
time at the front and center of Ladd's attention, as well as several
others, and it has paid off.
Once desolate, rundown, weed- and varmint-ridden, the site of the
restaurant is now clean. A great deal of progress has been made on
the exterior of the building, and work is also going on inside.
Ladd says it is his hope that by next year the museum planned for
The Mill will be open to the public.
In addition, Ladd revealed that there is room on the back of the
lot for a new structure, which may become an antique mall.
He said that having a new mall with the museum would add to the
traffic at the site, and revenues from the mall would assist in the
upkeep of the entire location.
Saturday afternoon, the Route 66 Motor Tour will visit Lincoln.
Driving their vintage collector cars, tourists will motor to the
courthouse for their passport stamp.
Ladd explained that each tourist will have a passport-style
booklet and a list of designated stops along Route 66. As they make
the stops, they will have their passports stamped to commemorate the
Ladd said that none other than Abraham Lincoln himself will be on
hand at the courthouse to do the honors of stamping the passports.
[to top of second column]
Tourists will also have the opportunity to check out the vintage and
antique autos belonging to the members of the Railsplitter Antique
Auto Club, as they will have a special show at the courthouse in the
But before the motor tour hits town on Saturday, The Mill will
have another group of special visitors on Friday afternoon.
Also headed to Springfield for the weekend is the statewide H.O.G.
organization. The Harley Owners Group, according to Ladd, is about
900 strong, and he expects that a few hundred of those riders may
cruise through Lincoln over the weekend.
In addition, the Springfield chapter of H.O.G. will be at The
Mill on Friday afternoon for a guided tour of the Route 66-era
landmark. Afterward, they will also visit the "ghost bridge" on an
older Route 66, which is now closed but runs between Old Union and
Holy Cross cemeteries on Lincoln's south side.
With it being the 80th anniversary of The Mill, Ladd also
announced that there are some very special events planned for July
"The Blue Mill" officially opened on July 25, 1929, under the
ownership of Paul Coddington. The building was shaped like a Dutch
farmhouse, featured a rotating windmill and offered an array of
grilled sandwiches on the menu.
When the restaurant changed hands in 1945, the new owners, Albert
and Blossom Huffman, added a barroom and dance hall. It was after
World War II that the Huffmans introduced what would become their
signature menu item, the schnitzel sandwich.
In the 1950s and '60s, Lincoln was plagued with illegal gambling
activities centering on pinball machines, and The Mill was
implicated in the illegal activities.
Thus, the July 25 celebration is going to include a couple from
Bloomington called "Spirits of Bloomington," who will conduct
"gangster tours" at The Mill. There will also be a "paranormal
event," along with other forms of entertainment.
Ladd hopes that everyone will mark their calendar for July 25 and
make plans to come out and enjoy the 80th anniversary celebration.
[By NILA SMITH]