Located in Wayne County, Utah, the 120-year-old Nielsen Grist Mill is still standing. It is the only mill left in the state that still has the original water-powered equipment.
Built by Danish miller, Hans Peter Nielsen, in the late 1800s, it was a two and half story mill that operated until 1935. It was destroyed by fire in the late 1800s and rebuilt, and then it was remodeled in 1910.
The mill is currently being restored, and it is located on private property on Highway 24 west of Torrey, heading towards Capitol Reef National Park. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Historical Marker Inscription
The Nielsen Grist Mill is located at the foot of Thousand Lake Mountain on the edge of scenic country referred to by ancient Indians as “The Land of Sleeping Rainbow.” Constructed around 1893 for Hans Peter Nielsen by his son-in-law, Niels Hansen, the mill was known as the Thurber Rolling Mills. Water for powering the mill was channeled from the Fremont River and dropped 22 feet through a-wooden pipe to the turbine that ran the mill.
The mill still has a double stand of Wolf Rolls and two double stands of McNalley Rolls with scalpers under each that are spouted to the various elevator legs. Sixteen elevators with five reels for flour milling are found in the mill. The Barnard and Leas dust collector and turbine with belting still have pulleys made of native wood, ready for use. Old models of Howe Scales, one for weighing wheat and one for weighing flour sacks, still exist. All equipment is in good shape, including the cash register. The mill produced flour, germade, shorts, and bran, each coming from individual spouts.
Farmers would receive one sack of flour for each three sacks of wheat. All 48-pound bags of flour were sewn by hand. The space between the ears was sewn with a long, sharp needle with a built-in thread cutter.
The mill made flour for the surrounding area for 40 years. Improved roads, constructed in the 1930s, spelled the beginning of the end for the Thurber Rolling Mills. Since Wayne County could not grow hard wheat, which made the best bread, it became just as easy to truck in flour as hard wheat.
1999 No. 522 Camp Thurber
SR-24, Teasdale, Utah 84773, United States
38° 18′ 25.350″ N, 111° 30′ 28.980″ W