Nielsen Grist Mill Historical Marker, Utah

Nielsen Grist Mill, Teasdale, Utah Historical Marker

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

Major Powell, Colorado River Explorer

John Wesley Powell was a geologist and explorer of the American West. He had also been a soldier for the Union Army during the American Civil War. Powell, however, is most well-known for his series of expeditions throughout the Rocky Mountains and the Green and Colorado Rivers.

In 1869, Powell and nine other members of his team set out into the West to explore both the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. They had four boats and enough food for 10 months for their trip through Utah. Only six crew members made it all the way through the expedition. One quit early in the journey and three left right before the crew reached the mouth of Virgin River on August 30, 1869, where the journey ended.

The three men who quit headed out at Separation Canyon and were never seen again. There has been speculation for years as to what happened to these three. Because they were never found, many of Powell’s journals were lost because they had been sent out with them. We recently heard a story that a journal had been discovered by a young Mormon girl who wrote about three men entering their village. The elders took these three out of village, and nothing more was written.

The Marker

The Powell historical marker is located 1084 East Main Street in Elgin, UT – right in front of the Motel 6. Here is what is engaged on it:

The first organized attempt to conquer the swirling rapids and precipitous walled canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers was made by Major John Wesley Powell, Civil War hero and explorer. Warned by Indians and mountaineers they would never return alive, Powell and 9 companions started from Green River Station, Wyoming Territory, on May 24, 1869, with 4 boats, instruments for making scientific observations, and provisions to last 10 months. For 97 days Powell and his men battled the elements, enduring tremendous deprivation and hardship.

One man (Frank Goodman) left the company early in the journey, and 3 others (William Dunn, O.G. and Seneca Howland) later killed by Shivwits Indians, deserted near Grand Canyon, Arizona. On August 29, 1869, the 6 remaining men arrived at the junction of the Rio Virgin in southern Nevada, having navigated and charted over 900 miles of the river.

In May, 1871, 2 years after his first river voyage, J.W. Powell again led an exploring party of 11 men in 3 boats down the Green and Colorado Rivers. Well into 1873 members of Powell’s party continued extensive and significant exploration and surveys of the region bordering the rivers traversed. The Powell Surveys are some of the most significant explorations achieved anywhere in the world.

NW 1/4, NW 1/4, NE 1/4, Sec. 15, TWP 21S, R 15E