Wednesday, June 10, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

Mill to get spotlight during Route 66 weekend

Send a link to a friend

[June 10, 2009]  In addition to the Route 66 yard sales going on this weekend, The Mill restaurant is going to be the center of attention for a couple of groups passing through Lincoln.

DonutsAccording to Geoff Ladd of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County and the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, The Mill will be inducted into the Route 66 Motor Tour Association of Illinois Hall of Fame at their annual banquet in Springfield this weekend.

Each year the association asks for nominations of Route 66 landmarks into their Hall of Fame. Ladd said he thought that this was the proper year to nominate The Mill, as it is the 80th anniversary of the restaurant, and restoration efforts are nearing a close.


He said that having his nomination selected was quite an honor for Lincoln and The Mill.

As a Hall of Fame inductee, the Heritage Foundation will be awarded a plaque that will later be on display at the restaurant.

Ladd said that since beginning the restoration of The Mill, the Illinois association has been very supportive. He said that many from that group have volunteered their time to work on projects and that they are responsible for the entire restoration of the sails for the windmill.

He also wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Ernie Edwards, the owner of the Pig Hip in Broadwell, for getting the ball rolling when, upon meeting Ladd for the first time, he stated quite clearly, "You've got to save that Mill!"

That was in 2005, and since that day, The Mill has spent a lot of time at the front and center of Ladd's attention, as well as several others, and it has paid off.

Once desolate, rundown, weed- and varmint-ridden, the site of the restaurant is now clean. A great deal of progress has been made on the exterior of the building, and work is also going on inside.

Ladd says it is his hope that by next year the museum planned for The Mill will be open to the public.

In addition, Ladd revealed that there is room on the back of the lot for a new structure, which may become an antique mall.

He said that having a new mall with the museum would add to the traffic at the site, and revenues from the mall would assist in the upkeep of the entire location.

Saturday afternoon, the Route 66 Motor Tour will visit Lincoln. Driving their vintage collector cars, tourists will motor to the courthouse for their passport stamp.

Ladd explained that each tourist will have a passport-style booklet and a list of designated stops along Route 66. As they make the stops, they will have their passports stamped to commemorate the event.

Ladd said that none other than Abraham Lincoln himself will be on hand at the courthouse to do the honors of stamping the passports.

[to top of second column]

Auto Sales

Tourists will also have the opportunity to check out the vintage and antique autos belonging to the members of the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club, as they will have a special show at the courthouse in the afternoon.

But before the motor tour hits town on Saturday, The Mill will have another group of special visitors on Friday afternoon.

Also headed to Springfield for the weekend is the statewide H.O.G. organization. The Harley Owners Group, according to Ladd, is about 900 strong, and he expects that a few hundred of those riders may cruise through Lincoln over the weekend.

In addition, the Springfield chapter of H.O.G. will be at The Mill on Friday afternoon for a guided tour of the Route 66-era landmark. Afterward, they will also visit the "ghost bridge" on an older Route 66, which is now closed but runs between Old Union and Holy Cross cemeteries on Lincoln's south side.

With it being the 80th anniversary of The Mill, Ladd also announced that there are some very special events planned for July 25.

"The Blue Mill" officially opened on July 25, 1929, under the ownership of Paul Coddington. The building was shaped like a Dutch farmhouse, featured a rotating windmill and offered an array of grilled sandwiches on the menu.

When the restaurant changed hands in 1945, the new owners, Albert and Blossom Huffman, added a barroom and dance hall. It was after World War II that the Huffmans introduced what would become their signature menu item, the schnitzel sandwich.

In the 1950s and '60s, Lincoln was plagued with illegal gambling activities centering on pinball machines, and The Mill was implicated in the illegal activities.

Thus, the July 25 celebration is going to include a couple from Bloomington called "Spirits of Bloomington," who will conduct "gangster tours" at The Mill. There will also be a "paranormal event," along with other forms of entertainment.

Ladd hopes that everyone will mark their calendar for July 25 and make plans to come out and enjoy the 80th anniversary celebration.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor