2008-05-31 Trip to Tooele (Two-ELLA)

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.

Here's the entrance to the mill and surrounding buildings.  The sign explains how it was actively used to provide flour for the community until the 20th Century.

Here's a broader view of the surrounding buildings and entrance gate.

We'll show 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.

Here I'm 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 vehicles.

I found this blacksmith shop especially interesting.  Notice the hand powered blower I'm pointing at near the anvil.

We loved this windmill.

Linda is 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 cabin.

Here's what 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.

This little 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.

Adobes are 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 still standing.

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.

Here's a beautiful loom we found in one of the buildings.

This manequin displays some of the dress standards of the days when the mill was active.

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.

Here's the shoemaker's shop.

Displayed in the same building were several examples of different types of wood.  I found them interesting enough to get closeups.

Cottonwood is a wide-grained, soft wood.

Black walnut, on the other hand, is a close-grained hardwood.

Beats me why they had this Siberian Elm.  No one there knew anything about the wood display.

This honey locust is a really attractive wood.

This is rough-cut juniper.  It's difficult to tell what the grain looks like in rough-cut lumber.

Anyone know 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.

Folks back 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.

Here's the 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 buffalo skull.

These old 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.

Sure enough, there was a full-grown barn owl who had taken up residence in the new building.

This is the first barn owl I've ever seen outside a zoo.  Handsome looking bird, isn't he?
Owl Closeup

Here's a 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 together.

They had a display of the various brands of flour and meal sold here and elsewhere over the years.

There was 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.

Here's another view of the machinery.

Here's a device that's obviously somewhat older than the machinery above.

These bins 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.

And here's the closeup I mentioned aboce.  I love this shot because I think it's so artistic.  What do you think?

Here's a 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.

It wasn't 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 Salt Lake.

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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