gardner village history and utah historic site

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Stepping onto the grounds at Gardner Village is like taking a step back in time. The historic atmosphere is reminiscent of the once-bustling early Utah pioneer mill industry, yet the accommodations boast trendy clothes, beautiful home décor items, and more! Specialty retail shops now occupy the historic buildings nestled adjacent to Gardner Mill, creating a unique shopping experience right here in the Salt Lake Valley.

Read on to learn about how Gardner Village went from being a single flour mill built in 1877 to a bustling shopping, dining and event destination with that mill listed on the National Historic Register.

Archibald Gardner and the Mill's Beginnings
Archibald Gardner was a Scottish immigrant who was one of the original pioneer settlers in Utah back in 1847. In the 1850’s, Gardner and his family began establishing the roots of an industrious hub on the west side of the Jordan River. Logs were hauled by horse teams from the Bingham Canyon to build the first West Jordan flour mill in 1853. Over 20 years later, the original mill was moved and a larger mill was erected in its stead. Now home to Archibald’s Restaurant and CF Home Furniture & Design, this historic flour mill was the beginning of what Gardner Village is today.

Nancy Long's Legacy
The Mill and surrounding property passed to other owners over the years, until it was eventually left vacant. In 1979, Nancy Long bought the Mill with the intentions of converting it into a house. However, her retail experience and entrepreneurial spirit prompted her to turn it into a furniture store instead. Transforming the old, abandoned property was not easy, but Nancy worked tirelessly to breathe new life into it, and Country Furniture and Gifts (now CF Home) opened in May of 1980. A decade later, her dream of opening a restaurant in the mill came true with the opening of Archibald’s Restaurant in 1990.

Wanting to keep the history of the mill intact, historic aspects were intentionally left in place. For a trip back in time, take a walk through CF Home and Archibald’s Restaurant to see some remarkable artifacts. It’s no wonder the Gardner Mill landed itself on the National Register of Historic Places and received the 1987 Utah Heritage award for the most improved commercial building.

With the help of her son, Joe Long, and a hardworking staff, Nancy put out an ad looking for historic buildings, which were then moved to the Gardner property. Historic homes, cabins, and even a train station were donated and renovated at the property to re-create a charming village, complete with a winding stream, brick-lined paths and covered bridges.

Gardner Village Today
Like the waterwheel that once powered the mill, Nancy Long’s clarity of vision continues to guide Gardner Village. Today, the ownership has passed to a new generation. Nancy’s son, Joe Long, and daughter, Angie Gerdes, are working to continue the journey their mother began. With new event spaces and venues, there are sure to be many exciting changes in the future, and we can’t wait to share them with you!