In 1854 LDS apostle Ezra Taft Benson arrived in Tooele Valley with orders from Church President Brigham Young to construct a gristmill that would serve new pioneer settlements in the area. His labor and commitment still stand proudly today in the Benson Gristmill, one of America’s truly remarkable historical structures.
Located in northern Tooele Valley beside a spring-fed pond, the Benson Gristmill was made of rock and wood by skilled pioneer artisans over 150 years ago. The mastery of their construction methods is easily seen inside the mill where wooden pegs were pounded into massive wooden beams.
From 1854 to the 1940’s, the Benson Mill processed wheat and corn by the ton. The milling equipment can be seen inside the mill during the tour.
The site was known as Benson’s Mill as early as 1849. Thomas Lee and other members of the Lee family were hired to oversee the construction of the Grist Mill which was completed in 1854.Mill After Restoration
After the last bag of flour was ground in the 1940’s, the gristmill lay silent for over 40 years, gradually falling into disrepair. In 1983 an ambitious committee of volunteers acquired the mill site property and began restoring the structure one piece at a time. The restored mill, which is widely recognized as one of the more intact pioneer era industrial buildings in Utah, captivates the interest of visitors from around the world.
The original restoration committee consisted of: Jack Smith, Chairman, Wayne Shields, Boyd and Ouida Blanthorn, Ray Court, Bob and Marilyn Shields, Douglas Smith and Maxine Grimm.