Friday, September 12, 2014
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Annual Car Cruise-In at The Mill on 66 features new weekend vendor market
Event this weekend includes car show, vendors, live music, food and annual meeting of foundation

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[September 12, 2014]  LINCOLN - Everyone is invited and encouraged to come out to The Mill on 66 this weekend. The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club will be holding their Mill Cruise in, craft and flea market vendors will be on hand, live music and food will also be available to make for a complete family experience in one location.

The weekend flea market is going to be an ongoing event next year. Spaces will be offered one weekend a month spring through the fall. For this year, there will be the market this weekend and another is being planned for October 25th and 26th.

Space is still available for booths for this weekend and the weekend in October. There is a minimal space rental fee, with those proceeds going to the Mill Foundation for future renovation projects.

Visitor admission for Saturday and Sunday is free, but as always donations are welcome.

On Saturday the car show will take place on the back lawn at the Mill. There will be a 50/50 drawing, music performances by area bands including The Runner Ups and The Howell, from 4pm-6pm on Saturday.

There will be a special lunch time meal on sale by Hallie’s Restaurant. Hallie’s is owned by Brian Huffman, a descendant of the Huffman family that owned the restaurant in its heyday.


In addition, there is a possibility that the city of Lincoln will bring out the old Tropics sign. The sign was removed from the parking lot of the Tropics this spring after having been given to the city. It is currently in storage awaiting complete restoration. If the circumstances are so that the sign can be transported safely to the Mill, the city will bring it out for photo opportunities.

“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 Rt. 66 Heritage Foundation board member, Geoff Ladd. Other collectible items will also be on sale to raise funds for the eventual Route 66 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.

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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 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.

Speaking about future events at the Mill Ladd commented, “We’re trying out some ideas to multi-purpose the facility here at The Mill, while the restoration process continues. “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.

“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. The group has also set up online donations and memberships. More information can be found at


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