Wednesday, September 25, 2013
sponsored by

Volunteers spruce up Mill for October car show

Send a link to a friend 

[September 25, 2013]  Last week a faithful few were gathered at The Mill on 66 to do some fall cleaning and get the place ready for the seventh annual car cruse-in Oct. 12.

Geoff Ladd, John Sutton, Bob Wilmert, Mike Fak and Gene Hassebrock were busy doing a variety of chores last Wednesday, getting the inside and outside of the building ready for visitors.

The Mill will be open during the October car show so folks can take a peek and see how the project to turn the old restaurant into a museum is coming along, Ladd said.

Inside, one can see that progress has been made on the building. The hardwood floors in the front part of the building have been restored.

There is also evidence that a great deal of electrical work has been done. Though Ladd said there is still some left to do, the building does have electricity.

As work has gone on, the back bar area has become somewhat of a storage room for materials, and that was one of the main things that needed to be cleaned up inside the building, Ladd said.

Ladd and Wilmert were busy going through the items in the bar area, carrying some items out to be hauled away to the trash and figuring out how to better store some of the building materials that are still to be used.

Ladd was also quick to point out the windows and shutters on the ground floor of the building. The shutters were handmade of solid wood by Sutton, and Wilmert did all the painting to make them blend in with the color of the building.

Outside, John Sutton was busy on a small tractor, working in an area on the north side of the building. While he worked, Contractors Ready Mix of Lincoln arrived with a large load of materials to be dumped into a pit on that side of the building.

Ladd explained that the large hole on the north side was where the restaurant kitchen had once stood. He said that portion of the building had to be torn down, and when it was, there was this large, cellar-sized pit.

Ladd said that for the last two years, Contractors Ready Mix has been bringing their leftover dry materials to The Mill and dumping them in the pit. Ladd said he was very grateful for the donation from the concrete company and happy to see that the pit is almost completely filled in.

Behind the building, Hassebrock was busy with a broom, sweeping up the concrete pad that will be a staging area for the car show entertainment and other activities.

Hassebrock said he was there in honor of his father, John, who died the end of August at age 95. "My dad's goal in life was to live to be 95, and he made it," Hassebrock said.

Hassebrock also noted that his father loved all car shows, and the last one he got to attend was at this year's Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, just a few days before he died.

[to top of second column]

For those who venture out to this year's cruise-in at The Mill, there are a few new items they can take a peek at inside.

Ladd explained that the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County had acquired some of the items from the old Pig Hip Restaurant, which was owned by the late Ernie Edwards.

A couple of the mementos on hand, which will also be part of the museum when it opens, are the Pig Hip sign and a painting of the original restaurant. Ladd explained that the sign is an original piece from the days when the Pig Hip was a thriving eatery along Route 66. The painting, he said, is a reproduction of one painted years and years ago.

In addition, The Mill is now home to several pigs. Ladd explained that Edwards collected all kinds of pigs, and on the counter in the bar were several examples of ceramic and stone pigs in various poses. One in particular stood out because it was made of a petrified potato. And finally, the Route 66 Heritage Foundation also has the Pig Hip mailbox that stood along the road in front of the restaurant.

While things may be moving slowly at The Mill, they are moving. Ladd said the Route 66 Heritage Foundation continues to work inside the building, with expectations of one day opening the site as a museum commemorating the Mother Road era in Lincoln. Work is being done as funding becomes available. Ladd noted that the generous donations of many people in the Lincoln area have helped to keep things going. The foundation has also received grant funds for the work.

While they have had some generous donors over the years, the project has been costly and is still in need of about $30,000 to get all the work finished.

This year, while attendance at the cruise-in is free, there will be opportunities for the public to support the restoration project financially. Ladd said that in addition to accepting donations, there will be a 50-50 drawing and a special new Route 66 T-shirt on sale.

"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," Ladd said. "You know it is hard to find anything today that is actually made in the USA, so we're really excited about these shirts for that reason as well."

There will be no need to go hungry at the cruise-in. Food will be on sale by Hallie's. Brian Huffman is the owner and manager of Hallie's on the downtown square, and he is also a descendant of Blossom and Albert Huffman, who owned The Mill in the 1940s.

And finally, there will be live music throughout the day, so be sure to bring your lawn chairs and spend the day just enjoying the cars, the food and the entertainment.

The cruise-in will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grassy lawn behind the building. The Mill is at 738 S. Washington in Lincoln.

For those who would like to donate, the Save the Mill on 66 website is now set up to take such donations. Learn more about this by visiting


< Top Stories index

Back to top