History of Old Rock Mill, Utah

This building, designed and erected by Frederick Kesler from 1857-60 for Franklin D. Richards, functioned until the 1890's as a water powered grist mill to grind wheat, corn and grain. Steam-powered mills came to Utah in the 1890's so the Rock Grist Mill closed, but in 1906 it was converted to a power generating station and provided electricity not only for the residents of Farmington, but also for the Bamberger Railroad--an electric train running between Ogden and Salt Lake City.

Over the years the building has been used for a variety of purposes including an ice house. From the 1920s to the 1950s it was sporatically occupied by family members who lived on the lower floor. From 1960 to 1990 it housed the Heidelberg, a German-style restaurant which, although pricy, was one of the most popular eating places for miles around. (This author, a fan of authentic German food, was greatly disappointed when it closed down).

At the time the Old Rock Mill was first built, it was a vital part of the local economy providing the key component in the food chain for the pioneers of that era. It remains a significant link to the local heritage of Farmington.

Current owner is Tom Owens who in 1992 bought the property at a state auction has devoted years restoring the old mill after it suffered severe vandalism damage. On June 18, 2005, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers dedicated a plaque on the site.

G.William Wiersdorf

See: Down by the old mill, Deseret News, July 15, 2005, Natalie Clements; Utah State History; Old

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