Curated by: The Brigham City Heritage Tours Team
The Box Elder Grist Mill or Flouring Mill was the first industrial building constructed in Brigham City. It was designed by Frederick Kesler, one of the most important architects in the development of the Utah’s pioneer mills.
The mill was intended to form the northeast corner of a rock wall surrounding the town. The wall was built as protection against hostile Indians, and the mill itself was used as a fort with armed guards posted in the upper levels to protect townspeople. The mill was completed in 1856 but did not begin operating until 1857 when the local wheat crop was sufficient to supply the mill. Production of flour was vital in the development of the small community.
Lorenzo Snow retained control of the mill during the cooperative period, but the property was never sold to the association. The Grist Mill was one of four industrial buildings located along the Box Elder Creek during the 1870s. The other three were owned by the Co-op. When the cooperative failed, all four industrial facilities, including the flouring mill, were sold to private businessmen.
John H. Bott worked as a stone cutter on the construction of the Salt Lake LDS Temple. In 1877, he took Lorenzo Snow’s advice and opened a stone-cutting and monument business on Brigham City’s Main Street. When his business grew enough that he needed larger facilities, the Grist Mill was available, and in about 1890 he bought it and the whole city block where it stood for $300.
The flour mill was converted to a monument factory, and John H. Bott operated it until his death in 1914. His sons continued the business, incorporating under the name of John H. Bott and Sons Company in 1917. This family business, billed as the oldest monument company in Utah, has continued under the ownership and management of four generations of Botts to the present time.
The building is considered the best-preserved Kesler mill in the state of Utah today. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 as part of a multiple listing of Co-op era buildings.
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