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 nearly 150 years ago. The mastery of their construction methods is easily seen inside the mill where wooden pegs and leather were pounded into massive wooden beams, When the green leather dried, the pegs stayed in place like nails. This method was also used to build the Tabernacle at Temple Square in nearby Salt Lake City.
From 1854 to the 1940's, the Benson Gristmill ground and processed flour, bran and cornmeal by the ton. Much of the mill's equipment, brought by ox teams from St Louis and other cities during 1854, is still inside the mill and can be seen during tours.
Although it carries the name Benson, the Lee and Rowberry Families of Tooele were also instrumental in the construction and operation of the gristmill. The Lee Brothers were hired by Benson to design and build it.
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