The U-138 exit from I-80 leads into a brief corridor of gas stations and convenience stores and continues through present-day Lake Point and Mills Junctions, two adjacent communities whose borders essentially overlap. This corridor was an important meeting place in pioneer times.
Near here, Adobe Rock, a large outcrop at the northwest point of the Oquirrh Mountains, was a favorite pioneer rendezvous spot. Its name came from a small adobe house Captain Howard Stansbury (a U.S. surveyer of the area) had built nearby to house his herders. It was the site of many travelers' camps and a familiar point of reference. The Donner party camped near Adobe Rock in 1846. On July 27, 1847, apostle Orson Pratt and two other men climbed to the top of the rock to get a view of the Tooele Valley. Later, when Brigham Young came to visit the settlements, this was where he was greeted.
Mormon Pioneers quickly took advantage of mountain streams in the area to power their gristmills. The mills were eventually closed, and by 1889 the town of Mills Junction was abandoned. The Benson mill, constructed in 1854 by the grandfather of Ezra Taft Benson, and LDS apostle and two-term secretary of agriculture under President Eisenhower who later became LDS Church president, has been restored and operates as a museum. The mill is open from April through October.
Cynthia Larsen Bennett