In the small town of Hanksville, Ut the BLM has moved a neat old gold mill down from the Henry Mountains. It is a wonder to see and tour. If you turn off from Hwy 24 on 100 W and drive about a mile in, you will see the BLM building and the Mill is right behind it. You can take a self-guided tour of the mill.
The Wolverton Mill
In the early 1900s, Edwin Thatcher Wolverton, a mining engineer from Maine, came to southern Utah to look for gold in the Henry Mountains. He had heard stories of lost Spanish gold mines and was determined to prospect the country himself. Believing he had discovered the location of the legendary Old Spanish Gold Mine. Wolverton tried for nearly 12 frustrationg years to file minning claims around Straight Creek on Mt. Pennell only to find each time that others had filed before him. He waited until the others gave up and, about 1915, was finally able to establish his own claims. With the help of his two sons, Norville and Thatcher, the sixtly-year-old Wolverton began construction of a mill to crlush gold ore about 1921. Knowing that he would need wood for the mine as well as some way of keeping in supplies Wolverton built a large table saw in one end of his will. With this, he could cut lumber for his needs as well as those of many of his remotely-located neighbors, there by obtaining suppoies and bartered services. This feature made the Wolverton Mill unique because it combined both wood cutting and ore crushing operations under one roof. Besides being unique in function the Wolverton Mill was also unique in construction. Most log structures of the time made use of some form of log notching and overlapping to tie the walls together. As can be seen, Wolverton cut his logs off evenly stacked them, and used steel spikes inserted vertically through the ends of the logs to build the mill walls. The walls were built in sections and braced with heavy posts. There were no other mills in the Southwest like this one. Perhaps the superstitious Wolverton believed an old Indian curse about hardship and suffering resulting from reopening the old gold diggings on Mt. Pennell, or perhaps the gold played out, but whatever the reason, we do know that gold ore was run through the mill for only a short time. We don't know if Wolverton ever found his lost mine, but once in a while, he would come to town with a little gold. Whether his dreams were realized or not, the Wolverton Mill stands as a unique monument to mining, perseverance, and genius.
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