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
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,
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.
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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
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
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
"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 NILA SMITH]