Photos/Benson Grist Mill
When you imagine the pioneer era, is it difficult to conjure up specific images? If you cannot grasp what life was like during that time, you may want to take a trip to the Benson Grist Mill in Tooele, Utah. This fascinating property is steeped in the history of the Tooele Valley. It’s just minutes away from our hotel, and the entire exhibit is a beautiful representation of those days gone by.
There is a lot to take in at this historical attraction, but the best place to begin is inside the actual gristmill. The industrial structure was built in the mid 1800s and has been restored over the years. Some of the original design still remains. You’ll quickly get lost in time taking in the old-fashioned wooden construction and mechanisms.
Your next step is to tour the grounds. The Oquirrh Mountains serve as the background for the refurbished museum and neighboring buildings. Strolling between each charming structure will seem to transport you through the pages of history. An old-time windmill, a delightfully romantic covered bridge and an enchanting covered wagon are some of the amusing sights you’ll see.
The mill property covers nearly seven acres in northern Tooele Valley, so there are plenty of opportunities for learning about life in the Old West. Forsyth Pioneer Cabin is one structure that provides a good example of how families coexisted while forging new lives. The basic log construction and cozy design of this home are almost as hypnotizing as the landscape.
To gain an understanding of the trades relevant to that era, stop by the miller’s house and the Bolinder Blacksmith Shop. These buildings are ideal for sneaking in history lessons for children. Whether you want to spend an entire day exploring or you want to enjoy a quick walk through the quaint grounds, you’ll easily become intrigued by this piece of the past.
Between April and October, there is a variety of family-based events to participate in. Each activity revolves around the heritage of the pioneer. The Performing Arts Foundation puts on an exciting show, and the Harvest Days Farmers Market is a fun place to collect some mementos. Don’t forget to pack your camera, because even something as basic as the pumpkin walk provides magnificent photo opportunities.
If you have any questions about the artifacts, tools, equipment or structures you see along the way, you can ask one of the friendly volunteers for information. Each guide has interesting tales to tell about the pioneers and the mill itself. You may be surprised at how little you know when it comes to the settlers’ lives. Even your little ones can learn plenty from this experience.
In addition to the tourist attractions, there is also a rentable pavilion on the mill property. Why not host a party, wedding or company function at one of the most scenic spots in the area? No matter how you choose to spend your time at the Benson Grist Mill, you’ll likely take with you memories and stories that are unforgettable.
The sights you and your family will see may appear simplistic, but they’re intertwined with the intricacies of life in the Old West. It’s an illustration of a world that is both mystifying and inviting. Between the dramatic views, impressive exhibits, fun events and countless history lessons, visiting the mill property is a must for your Tooele Valley to-do list.
More information: www.bensonmill.org - Tel +1 435 882-7678
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