David Bentley, holding the toddler, poses for a picture with members of his family, inside the Mill on 66 Tuesday afternoon.


Mill on 66 celebrates 88th with a space invasion

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[July 30, 2017]   LINCOLN - On Tuesday, the Mill on 66 Route 66 Museum celebrated its 88th year, marking the date in 1929 when the Blue Mill, owned by Paul Coddington celebrated its opening.

To help commemorate the day, a long-time friend of the Mill and Route 66, David Bentley, brought to town his newest Route 66 quirky creation, the USS 66 EPV Earth Patrol Vehicle.

The spaceship was parked outside the front door of the museum and drew the attention of several visitors as they came in to take a look around Lincoln’s newest attraction.

On hand to help with the celebration were several of the Mill volunteers along with Bill Kelly and Geoff Ladd of the Illinois Scenic Byways organization.

Bentley, who is also the builder of the Railsplitter Covered Wagon, has designed the ship to roll on a trailer from event to event.

It features a miniature Route 66 highway with a diner and vehicles to emphasize the size of the spaceship were it real.

A cut-out section in the cockpit of the ship allows folks to climb up and imagine themselves as the pilot.

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Outside the display was a collection jar for donations. Bentley said the donations on Tuesday would go to the Mill on 66. He also explained that he takes the ship to various events, and he uses the donation jar to support worthy causes such as donations to the Wounded Warriors or the American Cancer Society. He emphasized that none of the money goes in his pocket, it is all given to someone else.

The Mill on 66 Museum opened earlier this year after more than a decade of work to restore the former restaurant and make it into something the community can be proud of. Inside the building the ground floor has been transformed to a museum in the front half featuring memorbilia of many of the local Route 66 attractions now gone to the wayside. The museum serves to show that Logan County was, and still is a vital part of the Route 66 history.

And, if you’ve been to the museum, and are of the opinion that seeing it once is all you need, Ladd would heartily disagree. He explained that now that the museum is officially opened, more and more local folks are coming out and giving the museum Route 66 items they have saved for years. He noted that the museum has new items from the Mill and have also received new items representing the Tropics Restaurant. Ladd says he’s happy to see things coming to the Mill, and he and the Route 66 Heritage Foundation Board and volunteers welcome all donations that pertain to Logan County‘s history with the great Mother Road.

The back portion of the building holds interesting items to see, but it also serves as the museum gift shop. There one can find many nice items for sale including Route 66 swag. The dollars profited from the sale of souvenirs, as well as donations made in a large jar inside, go to help pay the daily operating costs of the Mill.

The Mill on 66 is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to the public.

[Nila Smith]

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