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
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
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
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
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 SaveTheMillOnRoute66.com.
[Text received; GEOFF LADD, ROUTE 66