Ribbon Cut

Lincoln marks Route 66 Weekend with a special opening event
City announces Route 66 100th Anniversary Commission

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[June 10, 2019]  On Friday morning a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Mill on Route 66 Museum to mark the beginning of the Route 66 Weekend in Lincoln. This year, the weekend was expanded from the traditional Route 66 Garage Sales to a designated weekend to celebrate the ‘Mother Road’ and its importance to Lincoln, as well as the county.

The weekend designation began with a resolution from the city that on Friday morning was read aloud at the ribbon cut by Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman:

WHEREAS, Route 66 is a main tourist attraction for Lincoln, IL, bringing thousands of visitors a year to town; and,

WHEREAS, the Route 66 Garage Sales, Mill Museum’s 90th Birthday Celebration, and the Illinois Route 66 Motor Tour are all taking place in Lincoln on June 7-9, 2019; and,

WHEREAS, by designating June 7-9, 2019 Route 66 Weekend in Lincoln, Illinois will bring more publicity to the Route 66 events and Lincoln, IL;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, I Seth A. Goodman, Mayor of the City of Lincoln, Illinois, do hereby designate June 7-9, 2019 as Route 66 Weekend in the City of Lincoln, Illinois.

Because the weekend has a root base with the Garage Sales, Michelle Ramlow was asked to speak.


Ramlow said first and foremost, she wanted to acknowledge Andrea Dykeman and Lincoln Printers who took up the cause when it appeared that the garage sales could go to the wayside. They kept the garage sales going in Lincoln and have grown the event to the size it is today, and it is still growing.

Ramlow went on to mention that this is a community that supports all of its causes. During the weekend there were a number of organizations that used the sales as a fundraising tool and she encouraged everyone to support those organizations, and also mentioned that we are a community that does come together for those fundraisers and is always there to help out. She acknowledged that we are a community that shows tremendous love and support to its veterans, and that too is vitally important and much appreciated.

In addition to the establishment of the weekend and the celebration of the success of the Route 66 Garage Sales, this weekend was also a celebration for the Mill on Route 66 Museum. This is the 90th anniversary year for the Mill. The Mill which started as the Blue Mill sandwich shop on Route 66 has a storied history in Lincoln with ties to local characters such as Blossom Huffman and Coonhound Johnny and world renowned characters such as Al Capone.

When the Mill was standing in ruin and on track to be demolished it was another colorful character, Ernie Edwards of the former Pig Hip restaurant in Broadwell who demanded of Geoff Ladd, then director of the Logan County Tourism Bureau, that Ladd save the Mill.

On Friday, Ladd was the next to speak. Being introduced as the one who revived the Mill and now works continually to sustain the Mill, Ladd used the word “sustain” to lead into his part of the program. He spoke first about the new 90-year anniversary tee-shirts that were being unveiled and offered for sale starting this weekend. He noted that they were limited edition shirts with the proceeds going to the daily operations of the Mill.

As Ladd spoke about the value of the Mill and its ties to Route 66 a large group of motorcycles roared past. He laughed and said he could not have timed that any better if he had tried, because it drove home the number of Route 66 travelers that pass by the Mill on a regular basis.

Ladd went on to remember Edwards and the charge he made to Ladd that the Mill had value and had to be saved. He spoke about the notoriety of the Mill and the connections to prohibition and Al Capone.

There had been one small snafu in the weekend for the Mill. Saturday was supposed to offer a special dedication of a new library inside the Mill with several items being donated by David G. Clark. Mr. Clark fell ill on Thursday and was unable to attend the Saturday event. Ladd had intended to have the official opening of the library and dedicate it to Clark. Clark was also scheduled to give two presentations on Saturday that focused on Al Capone. Those two events will be scheduled for a later date. The library was open though and after the cut Ladd shared items that had been donated by Clark.

He also shared that the family of Ernie Edwards recently donated all of Edwards scrap books from the Pig Hip.

Those are still in storage at the Mill, but Lad said they will be added to the library so guests will have the opportunity to look though those scrapbooks in the near future.

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Ladd concluded, “I am so honored that we got this building to 90 years, and it’s going to be here in 2026 when Route 66 turns 100 years old.”

The mention of the 100th anniversary of Route 66 led to a special announcement made by Lincoln Alderman Tracy Welch.

“Route 66 is extremely important to the city. It is traveled by millions of people. The 100th Anniversary of Route 66 is coming up in 2026.” He said that he and Morgan Gleason and Kaylee Kirby of the Logan County Tourism Bureau, Ladd and Bill Kelley of the Route 66 Scenic By-Way had met to discuss forming a local commission. There is currently a Route 66 Commission on a state level and work is being done to get a similar resolution in the works in Washington D.C. Welch said the group wanted to “get ahead of the game” and form a local commission.

A request for a resolution establishing a Lincoln, Illinois, Route 66 Anniversary Commission had been submitted to the city and the city had approved that request. As a result, Lincoln is the first ‘local government’ in the nation to establish an anniversary commission.

The commission has been established and the core committee has been established.

Members of that committee include:

  • Morgan Gleason
    Logan County Tourism Bureau

  • Bill Kelly
    Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

  • Geoff Ladd
    Route 66 Heritage Foundation

  • Tim Butler
    Illinois House Representative

  • Kevin Bateman
    City of Lincoln Alderman

  • Emily Davenport
    Logan County Board Chairman

  • Rick Hoefle

  • Michelle Ramlow
    Route 66 Garage Sale and local veteran

  • Lance Rainforth
    Downtown Lincoln business owner

As part of the program on Friday, it was also noted that this was the weekend for the Illinois Route 66 Association Motor Tour. The annual tour stops in Lincoln each year. This year the tour would be arriving in town on Saturday and would stay the night in Lincoln. They would also be hosting their annual Hall of Fame Banquet at the American Legion in Lincoln on Saturday night.

The next person to speak on Friday morning was Morgan Gleason of the Logan County Tourism Bureau. Gleason thanked everyone for coming and said that it was a pleasure to see local businesses, the garage sales and the Mill all working together to promote the community on the whole, and the city’s Route 66 heritage in particular. Gleason also expressed appreciation to the city of Lincoln in recognizing the importance of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Mother Road, and acting accordingly with the establishment of a local commission.

Introduced as “last, but far from least” was Lisa Drew, owner of Sorrento’s Pizzeria, and her husband Jim Drew. Guests were reminded that there would be a second ribbon cut on Friday at the Pizzeria celebrating its 50th anniversary in downtown Lincoln.

Drew was asked to say a few words. Drew said that she certainly wanted everyone to join them. She said that this would be the second ribbon cut for the restaurant in recent months as there had been one in November to celebrate the new location of the restaurant. She said that she had requested a second ribbon cut now because she felt that it was important to celebrate 50 years for the restaurant and the family.

With the speeches concluded the traditional posed pictures were taken, then the group assisted with the countdown to the snipping of the ribbon. Gleason and Ladd snipped the ribbon with assistance by Ramlow.

Guests were then encouraged to take a tour, visit the garage sale going on outside the building, and of course purchase a tee-shirt commemorating the Mill’s 90th anniversary.

[Nila Smith]

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