Mill on 66 featured in Smithsonian Magazine online
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[May 10, 2017]
- After 11 years of hard work and dedication, the Mill on 66 in
Lincoln, Illinois is now open as a museum. The Grand Opening was a
focal point of “Route 66 Day in Lincoln” on Saturday April 29th,
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner
attended the ribbon cutting for the event and talked about the
tourism and economic impacts the museum will have in the community,
and noted the importance of Route 66 throughout Illinois. Also in
attendance were Illinois State Representative Tim Butler, Hal Smith
from U.S. Representative Darin Lahood’s office, and local officials.
"As Route 66 became more popular, a new service industry of
restaurants, motels, gas stations and shops evolved to support those
traveling the Mother Road. Many of those businesses are gone while
others have been preserved. Still others have been re-purposed,"
said William Kelly, Executive Director of the Illinois Route 66
Scenic Byway. "One such Renaissance was celebrated on Saturday,
April 29th in Lincoln, Illinois. After eleven years of closure and
decay, the iconic Mill Restaurant reclaimed its Route 66 prominence
as a Museum and Gift Shop. It's great to have the Mill back!"
The Mill originally opened as a sandwich stand called The Blue Mill
in 1929 along the original alignment of the famous road in Lincoln.
After WW2, it expanded into a bar and restaurant that featured live
music and the schnitzel sandwich. Around 1996, it closed permanently
and fell into a state of disrepair.
Over a decade later, the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan
County was formed to save the roadside attraction and eventually re-open the
facility as a Route 66 museum. During that timeframe, over $90,000 was raised
through grants and donations and over $150,000 of in-kind labor went into the
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The museum features display from Route 66 in Lincoln and Logan
County, including artifacts from The Mill (including the Mill sign that hung
outside for decades), The Pig Hip Restaurant and The Tropics Restaurant.
Visitors can also take a “selfie” at the Crossroads Motel sign, and with “Illy”,
the Illico gas station robot as he’s moving his arm and flashing his lights. The
gift shop has Mill and Route 66 items for sale.
The grand opening garnered quite a bit of media attention, including a new
article from Smithsonian Magazine that published online on May 3rd.
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway]
Mill on 66 -
Route 66 Museum celebrates grand opening