The Lincoln Highway in Basin and Range – Heading West

I recently completed another round trip on the Lincoln Highway to Salt Lake City. I have decided not to blog about the highway in SLC because all flavor of the old road is gone, buried under asphalt or concrete. It is ugly, but if you must drive it then portions of State Street should satisfy you, or not. Refer to Franzwa and Petersens’ The Lincoln Highway: Utah for specific locations in Salt Lake City.

Lincoln Highway, near Salt Lake City

This is simply not the Lincoln Highway I care about. So I’m going to take a leap westward about twenty miles to begin the journey back to Ely, Nevada.

Benson’s Mill

Benson’s Grist Mill was built in 1854 by LDS apostle Ezra Taft Benson upon orders from LDS Church President Brigham Young. This is one of the early and still-standing buildings of the area, and it’s right on the original Lincoln Highway. ( 40° 39.034’N 112° 17.824’W) Westbound take the Hwy 36 exit of I-80 then turn on 138.

“Now more than 150 years old, the mill was hailed as the most significant structural landmark between Salt Lake City and Reno, Nevada when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1972.” – from the Benson’s Mill site.

Ezra Taft Benson’s Grist Mill

This stop is well worth it. It’s also a great place for kids to explore and run around. There are other nicely restored buildings on the property, a picnic area, and a general store. If you see school buses parked out front, then you are assured of plenty of happy and enthusiastic children for company.

Forsyth Cabin at Benson’s Mill

From this point you are just a few miles from our next stop, Grantsville, west of here on the old highway.


Grantsville on 138 is a nice quiet town; it probably always was. The LHW ran along  Main Street and then in the center of town turns north to run west along Clark Street. There is gasoline and food here. (You’ll need to stock up if you are going to continue on the old road to Ely.)

Main Street, Grantsville

(Speaks For Itself)

Next Up:

I’m going to lead you on a loop that makes a nice day outing from SLC or allows a continuation to Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge – The J. J. Thomas Ranch in early Lincoln Highway days, and on to Ely.

Stay tuned.

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