Monument marks gristmill site, road

President Howard W. Hunter lauded the resourcefulness and foresight of Brigham Young and the pioneers when he dedicated a new monument Oct. 31 in Salt Lake City, honoring two of their accomplishments.

"It is an example to us today, where living is so easy in many respects, when we think about those who have made sacrifices, who have gone before and laid a foundation that we could build on for the future," said President Hunter of the Council of the Twelve.Sponsored by the Pioneer Heritage Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, the monument commemorates the Brigham Young Industrial Center and the Golden Pass Toll Road.

The Industrial Center was built on a 200-acre tract of farm land north of Parley's Creek and east of 2000 East in Salt Lake City between the years of 1849 and 1852, according to John J. Nielsen, monument committee chairman.

It was the largest gristmill in the Utah Territory, he said. It began operation in 1852 and was shut down in 1857 due to the entrance of the U.S. army under command of Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston to put down a supposed "Mormon rebellion."

Started up again in 1857, the milling equipment was removed in 1863, and the plant was changed over to a cotton mill and then a woolen mill until it was destroyed by fire.

The toll road, according to a Deseret News article on June 29, 1850, was an entrance into the Salt Lake Valley, an alternative to the Emigration Canyon route taken by the pioneers when they first entered the valley in 1847.

Explored and built by Parley P. Pratt, it was used as a means for securing fuel and timber for himself and other settlers. To defray the cost of building the road, he established a toll. The cost was 75 cents for a two-horse outfit, 10 cents for each additional pack or saddle animal and 1 cent per head for sheep and loose stock.

Between 1850 and 1869, thousands of pioneer immigrants, California-bound gold seekers, Pony Express riders, overland stage coaches and soldiers traveled over the dirt road. Today, U.S. Interstate 80, a major freeway, covers Elder Pratt's road through what is now known as Parley's Canyon.

The monument that President Hunter dedicated is located at the corner of 2000 East and Stratford Avenue (2585 South) in Salt Lake City on the site of the gristmill and near the mouth of Parley's Canyon. It is in a park that is being developed.

"President [Ezra TaftT Benson has been interested in the heritage that the pioneers have left us, and he talks about it frequently," President Hunter told the assembly in the Crystal Heights Ward meetinghouse that gathered there due to inclement weather.

"I wish he could have been here today. He would enjoy this association and would enjoy having you here. I have an appointment with him at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, and I will report to him those of you who have gathered here and your purpose for gathering, and he will enjoy and appreciate that because it is something that is close to his heart."

President Hunter expressed appreciation for "the toil, labor and integrity of these hard-working people who gave of themselves."

"Those of us who are gathered here today have that appreciation in our hearts when we think of the things that have been given to us which have increased our joy and happiness, and for that which has been left by them for us."

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