The Mill on Route 66 in Lincoln, Illinois Launches Crowd Funding Campaign to Complete Restoration & Open as a Museum

Our thanks to Geoff Ladd of Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County for providing the following press release to share.

The Mill on Route 66 in Lincoln, Illinois Launches International Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign to Complete Restoration & Open as a Museum

The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County has launched an Indiegogo.com crowd funding campaign to finish restoring the famous Mill Restaurant on Route 66 in Lincoln, IL into a museum, featuring a collection of items representing Route 66 in Logan County. The campaign runs for 40 days and ends on April 25, 2015. The goal for completing the renovation work is in time for the annual October celebration in 2015.

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The Mill is considered a prime example of early American roadside architecture and is one of the few buildings in the area still standing from that era.

Opening the Mill will add to the number of Route 66 visitors and increase both civic pride and economic development in this rural, central Illinois community.

In 2006, a group of volunteers formed the 501(c)(3) tax-deductible foundation to help save The Mill. A great deal has been accomplished on the building, with over $50,000 raised so far – including a new roof, new and replacement windows and restoration of the downstairs floor and foundation. Local volunteers and members of the Route 66 Association of Illinois preservation committee have made great strides in the work so far. But there is still much to do.

First, a contractor must be hired to finish wiring the facility for electricity. The walls need to be insulated from the inside and the large holes and damaged floor behind the bar area downstairs and the front area upstairs need to be replaced. Knotty pine must be rehung behind the bar and drywall ceilings and an HVAC system must be installed. A small addition must be added to the back of the facility that will house a handicap restroom and handicap entrance. The cost for completing the project will be $93,900. Funds raised will be leveraged toward possible available grants. All donations are tax-deductible.

A wall of the future museum will be dedicate to those who have volunteered and donated funds and issued grants over the years, including organizations and individuals such as the National Park Service, The Danner Trust, Route 66 Association of Illinois, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club and the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County.

Paul Coddington of Lincoln formally opened his restaurant at the corner of Washington St. and Stringer Ave. on July 25, 1929, under the name of the Blue Mill. As a special treat that night, his manager’s children dressed in Dutch costumes with wooden shoes and passed out
the patrons. The eatery was constructed by local contractors in the shape of a small Dutch windmill with sails on the front.

In 1945, Blossom Huffman purchased The Mill, unbeknownst to her husband, Albert. He, nevertheless, ended up helping to run the establishment. The Huffmans obtained, at no cost, an old Army barracks from Fort Ellis in Ipava, IL, and attached it to the back of the existing building. The restaurant could now accommodate the addition of a bar, and The Mill quickly gained in popularity.

One of the restaurant's claims to fame was its fried schnitzel, originally made of veal and later of pork. Louise “Mom” Rofschansky brought the original viener schnitzel recipe with her from Austria. The cook introduced the sandwich to Blossom, who Americanized it and made it a Mill specialty. The Huffmans ran the restaurant and bar until it closed in 1996.

“I always like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped with The Mill since we saved it from destruction back in 2006 with coordination from the city of Lincoln,” said Geoff Ladd of the Route 66 Heritage Foundation. “I particularly want to thank some very special individuals – Larry Van Bibber for his generous donation, the late Ernie Edwards for his insistence, the late Mike Fak for the flooring, John Weiss for his mentoring, two very special anonymous donors (one of whom contributed our new Mill logo and t-shirts), all past and present board members, and all the generosity provided by the local media,” said Ladd. The Mill remains under the auspices of the private foundation, Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County, a group of dedicated volunteers. More information can be found at www.igg.me/at/millon66 or savethemill.org.

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