The Mill Car Cruise-In is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, as part of Illinois’ National Scenic Byway Week activities at the historic Route 66 restaurant at 738 S. Washington in Lincoln, Ill.
The annual meeting of the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, the group that owns the site, also is the last event of the season for, and co-sponsored by, The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Vehicle registration for the Cruise-In is $5, with all proceeds going to preserve The Mill. There will also be a 50/50 drawing, live music, and a special lunch from Hallie’s Restaurant, which is owned by Brian Huffman, a descendant of the Huffman family who owned The Mill during its heyday. Tours of The Mill also will be available.
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“Thanks to a very special anonymous donation, we will also have on sale Made in the USA T-shirts with our new Mill on 66 logo on them,” said Geoff Ladd.
Other collectible items will be on sale to raise funds for the eventual Route 66 museum. “We need to raise about $30,000 more to finish the project – 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, and will have the new t-shirts on sale on the web soon. More information can be found at SaveTheMillOnRoute66.com.
The Mill in Lincoln opened in 1929 under the name of the Blue Mill, on Stringer Avenue. Its 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 white aprons. In 1945, Albert and Blossom Huffman purchased the building, added a barroom and dance hall, then painted the building barn red. Over the years, the restaurant became famous for its fried schnitzel, originally made of veal, and later of pork. By the mid-1980s 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 in 1996; however, the building is still standing in its original location.
(New The Mill logo via SavetheMillonRoute66.com)