Route 66 in the News

The Mill Joins Route 66 Hall of Fame

2009-06-12 20:55:18

LINCOLN, Ill. - The Mill on 66, a famous quirky restaurant during the heyday of Route 66 and beyond, will be inducted into the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

The ceremony will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County saved the historic structure in 2006, and has been working on the restoration process since then. The project is being funded by grants, personal donations and individual/business memberships in the not-for-profit organization.

"We hope to have it open as a museum by 2010," said foundation chairman Geoff Ladd, who is also the Logan County tourism director. "Back in 2005 when I first came to Lincoln, Ernie Edwards of the Pig Hip Restaurant/Museum in Broadwell, alerted me to the significance of the building and told me to save it. I was surprised how difficult a task that would become."

The building had to be worked out of legal entanglements, undergo a partial demolition of two less significant later additions and be subjected to asbestos abatement before any restoration work could be done.

"At that first juncture, we were newly formed and had no funds," Ladd said. "Regions Bank in Lincoln took a chance on the project and gave us a much needed loan -- we are very grateful to them."

Other major contributors include local philanthropist Larry Van Bibber, the Danner Trust fund, the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County and members of the Route 66 Association of Illinois.

The Mill originally opened as "The Blue Mill" on July 25, 1929, as a small sandwich stand. It was patterned and themed in the style of a Dutch windmill. After World War II, an Army barracks from Camp Ellis in Ipava was added to the back of the building, and the Mill became a restaurant/bar.

In these later years, The Mill was known for quirky decorations and the famous schnitzel sandwich -- an Americanized version of the European viener schnitzel -- made with pork instead of veal.

The original recipe is still available at Hallie's restaurant in downtown Lincoln, which is owned by Brian Huffman. Huffman is a descendant of the Huffman family that ran The Mill after 1945.

~Gatehouse News Service,


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