By Elizabeth Smith
FOUNTAIN GREEN—The Uinta Springs Camp of Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) held a ceremony to dedicate their newly built monument to the old flour mill in Fountain Green last week.
As a project for the Uinta Springs Camp, the monument was a long time coming to fruition; the DUP began working on it in 2018 as a continuation of a preservation project that was started, but never finished in the 1970s. Then the COVID pandemic slowed work on the project.
“We haven’t been able to meet; we haven’t been able to have our conventions,” said North Sanpete President Annette Hansen at the dedication.
Members of the DUP and other interested community members gathered in the Fountain Green Theater and Dance Hall to hear from international DUP officers, project leaders and a musical performance by flutist Holly Carroll and pianist Lauren Rowley.
Hansen gave a brief history of the mill and its importance to the Fountain Green community. The mill, built in 1867, was unique in the way that it used water from the Uinta Springs, or “Big Springs.” It had a wheel complete with troughs that would fill with water that flowed down a flume from the springs and the weight of the water would move the mill stones, providing power, Hansen said.
The flour from the mill established Sanpete County as the “bread basket of Utah,” she said. During the 1870s, the addition of a railroad allowed flour and other goods such as adobe bricks, livestock, mail and even passengers to be transported easily in and out of the town.
Burned and rebuilt twice, the mill was a persistent presence in the town and the county. But eventually in the 1930s, it was closed its lumber and machinery were moved to Gunnison.
DUP prides itself in preserving the state’s history and heritage, and this monument is another example of their mission.
“No matter what language you speak, there is a word for this: remember,” International DUP President Ellen Jeppson said in her address.
For the Uinta Springs Camp, this remembrance is close to home. Yvonne Hansen, the Uinta Springs Camp Captain and a leader of this project, spoke of Leah Sorensen Hansen, her husband’s grandmother. Leah Sorensen Hansen was the daughter of Ole Sorensen, who operated the mill for about 36 years. Later, she married the son of Neils Hansen, who owned and operated the mill from 1904-1918. Leah Sorensen Hansen eventually joined the Uinta Springs Camp of DUP after it was officially charted in 1946.
There were many descendants of both Ole Sorensen and Neils Hansen in attendance to honor the legacy of their ancestors.
ISDUP Board Member Mary Shumway, a descendant of many families that once passed through Sanpete County, said monuments like this one are more than just markers on the side of the road.
“They’re a way to provide a life to our past,” she said.
Members of the community can visit the monument, located on the foundation of the mill at approximately 700 West, 25250 North Big Springs Loop Road.