2008-05-31 Trip to Tooele
At the end of May we went a little west of Salt Lake about 35 miles to
the city of Tooele. We had heard the Benson Grist Mill was
located there. Since we love historic sites we decided to
investigate. I'm glad we did.
This photo essay is a bit long but you can read the captions over the
first few photos while the remainder are down-loading to your PC.
entrance to the mill and surrounding buildings. The sign explains
how it was actively used to provide flour for the community until the
broader view of the surrounding buildings and entrance gate.
you several views of the actual mill. Most of the photography
(the good photos) were taken by Linda.
Notice the mill stone to the left of the mill laying by the fence.
clowning with a handcart that was displayed on the grounds.
Here are some
more of the wagons used locally back in the day of livestock powered
I found this
blacksmith shop especially interesting. Notice the hand powered
blower I'm pointing at near the anvil.
We loved this
standing outside a cabin that was moved to this property from
elsewhere. The plaque by the door says the cabin was built by
Andrew Barker Forsythe in 1872 for his bride Emily Elizabeth Moss when
they married. Their first 3 (of 10) children were born in this
the inside looks like. The plastered walls have been
semi-preserved so you can see what they would have looked like.
I'm sure this
old wooden cook stove was quite modern back then.
Here's a look
at the outside of the blacksmith shop.
plexiglass enclosed shelter is there to display some adobe
bricks. Adobe was used to make quite a few buildings, walls to
protect and surround, and other structures.
essentially made of sun-dried soil, clay, and water. If they had
mostly clay and were baked in an oven, they would last for years.
Since the clay content varies and they're only sun-dried, not baked,
they deteriorate rapidly in heavy rain. Fortunately, there aren't
too many heavy rains in the desert. Unfortunately, there are
some. So unprotected (unplastered) adobe bricks disolve over time.
Protected bricks can last indefinitely. The wall around Temple
Square in downtown Salt Lake City was originally built of adobe bricks
in the 1850s. It's been there over 150 years.
There was another wall of adobe bricks built about the same time that
no one even remembers. It surrounded what was originally downtown
Salt Lake City to protect them from Indian attacks.
I tell a story about the two walls and ask why the Temple Square wall
is still there. It's because it was put on a foundation of stone,
capped with stone, and protected (plastered) all these years.
Though the original adobe has long since been replaced, the wall is
In my story, I compare the two walls to our lives. If we base our
lives on a good foundation and protect ourselves against the rains of
evil influence, we too can weather any storm.
beautiful loom we found in one of the buildings.
displays some of the dress standards of the days when the mill was
I loved all
these old saw blades. It amazes me how they can fell trees, let
them lay and cure for a year or so, then cut them into all sorts of
useful and beautiful wood products. The strange tool on the upper
left of the photo is called a froe. It was used mostly for
splitting wooden shingles.
the same building were several examples of different types of
wood. I found them interesting enough to get closeups.
a wide-grained, soft wood.
on the other hand, is a close-grained hardwood.
Beats me why
they had this Siberian Elm. No one there knew anything about the
locust is a really attractive wood.
rough-cut juniper. It's difficult to tell what the grain looks
like in rough-cut lumber.
what this is? It's a fruit press. You line the bucket with
several layers of cheese cloth and put fruit, such as cut and cored
apples, inside. Turn the auger at the top slowly and applejuice
comes out through the cheesecloth between the slats of the
bucket. The juice spills down onto the collector tray at the
bottom and through a hole into a pan you place under the press.
This is an
old cornsheller. My grandfather used to have one just like
this. We would put gravel in it and our uncle would catch us and
spank us for it. Hahaha.
Here are some
more old pots and kitchen tools for making and processing food.
east would never recognize this. It's a home made sheep camp.
A boy, often
no more than 14 years old, would camp in this for weeks at a time out
on the open range with no other companions except his sheep dogs, his
rifle, and his horse. He would round the sheep up at night and
keep them close while he slept lightly in this shelter to protect him
against the elements. If predators came around, that's what the
dogs and the rifle were for.
Once each week or so, his father would ride out to deliver him another
weeks worth of groceries. I've talked to men my age here who
spent many days in a shelter just such as this as a youth. One
man told me he lived mostly off of flap-jacks and maple syrup.
interesting contents of another building on the grounds. Yes,
that's a bear skin.
And this is
what a buffalo skull looks like that's been sitting in brine a
while. The water dries up and leaves salt crystals all over the
halters and yokes were used for the draft animals.
I told Linda
she got a gorgeous shot of this old wagon. It's stuff like this
that's suitable for framing.
Here's a sign
offered for sale at the gift shop. You're supposed to put this in
your laundry room. Hahaha.
Here's a view
of several of the buildings.
And here's a view
looking in the other direction.
As we passed
this newly constructed mill, not quite finished yet, a care taker
happened by. We asked what this is for. He said they plan
to use it as a working mill to sell stone-ground grains to guests when
the building is complete. Then he said, "I wonder if the owl has
bedded down yet?"
He looked inside. I thought he was joking. Then he said,
"Yep, he's there" and told me to have a look.
there was a full-grown barn owl who had taken up residence in the new
This is the
first barn owl I've ever seen outside a zoo. Handsome looking
bird, isn't he?
front-view of the 3-story grist mill. The stone basement of
course is where most of the mechanical parts are.
We found lots
of interesting things inside. They had complete displays of the
different parts of the mill and what they were used for. This
example of building construction was most interesting to me. This
is how they constucted beams in the old days without the use of
metal. Notice the wooden pegs holding the pieces together.
There are also motises and tenons but you can't see them when they're
They had a
display of the various brands of flour and meal sold here and elsewhere
over the years.
machinery from different dates. Here's some of the more modern
machinery. The brand name is "Meadows." We loved that
because that's the surname of several of our grandchildren. We
thought they'd enjoy seeing their name.
another view of the machinery.
device that's obviously somewhat older than the machinery above.
were for storing and separating grains.
I put this
photo here to help explain the closeup below. These are wheels
and belts that help drive the machinery elsewhere in the building.
the closeup I mentioned aboce. I love this shot because I think
it's so artistic. What do you think?
wide-angle shot of the front of the mill.
And here's a
shot of the back of the mill. You have a better view from here of
the water wheel and trace.
One more long
shot. I love the stone basement. I said the building was a
3-story but, counting the attic, it's actually 4-stories high.
until we were pulling out of the parking lot that I realized we were on
part of the Lincoln Highway. It's one of the oldest roads in the
nation and predates historic Routh 66 by many decades.
As we left,
we wanted to head up toward the mountains to see if we could get a
better view of the Great Salt Lake. These are the mountains west
of Salt Lake City. They're not quite as high as the Wasatch
mountains but they're still majestic.
It may be
hard to tell from this photo but there, in the distance, is the Great
For our final
photo in this series, we wanted to get the sun setting over the
lake. I hope you've enjoyed our little photo essay. Thanks
for going along with us.
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