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History of the Mill and the Schnitzel

Quoted from Our Times, Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring, 200.  Published by Sam Redding, researched and written by Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach.

Prairie Years Press
121 N. Kickapoo Street
Lincoln, IL 62656
ph. 217-732-9216

     "That year [1929] was the year Paul Coddington opened the Blue Mill (later called The Mill) on Stringer Avenue near the State School.

    A white Dutch building trimmed in blue, it featured a lighted revolving windmill and a Dutch blue interior, waitresses dressed in white dresses and blue-trimmed aprons, and enameled furniture with Dutch pictures.

    Travelers driving by on Route 4 could purchase toasted sandwiches any hour of the day or night.  In fact, when Albert and Blossom Huffman bought the restaurant in 1945, it still had two serving windows on the front of the building.

    Albert built on a barroom of knotty pine, added an Army barracks from Camp Ellis to the rear for a dance hall, and painted the building barn red.

    A delicatessen with curb service took the place of the dance hall for a number of years, after which the building became a dance hall again.

    Albert's daughter-in-law Eleanor worked at the Mill from 1948 until the late '80s.  The old windmill had come down; her husband, George, put up a new one, also lighted and revolving--only to have a storm destroy it.

    By then, the interior had lost its Dutch motif and was becoming a museum of oddities:  a mechanical leg that protruded from the ceiling, a 20-pound stuffed catfish, a suit of armor, four life-sized figures.

    The Mill was the 'Home of the Schnitzel,' the huge breaded tenderloin sandwich first made by Louise 'Mom' Rofschansky, an Austrian immigrant who brought her recipe from the old country.   

   Originally, the schnitzel was made from veal; Eleanor says Louise would "sit there many, many nights pounding it until three or four in the morning.'  Later, it was made from pork.

   Right down through George and Eleanor's son, Randy, and his two older sons, Brian and Danny, four generations of Huffmans worked at the Mill before it closed in 1996."

   Note:  Heading north on Route 4, travelers could stop at Ritchhart's grocery store across from Postville Park or obtain gas and groceries at Wilsons' Corner at Fifth and Washington.  Its owners were my grandparents, Harrison Franklin and Blanch Wilson.

LH