What's in a flour mill? Maybe not much and maybe a lot depending on how you look at it and your point of view. It has been a dilemma for the past few years as to what to do with the Huntington flour mill. It has not operated since the 1980s and has fallen into a state of disrepair. The building is owned by someone out of town. Huntington City has made it known they do not want to have anything to do with the flour mill and will not be using any city funds to either purchase the mill or repair the mill in any way.
That being said, there is a group of interested citizens of Huntington who wish to see the flour mill restored and repaired. The ultimate goal is not to bring the mill back into operation as an operating flour mill, but to turn it into a type of museum, gift and sandwich shop and tourist attraction.
The interested citizens are forming a Huntington Flour Mill Foundation which will oversee the restoration project. Their first project was to raise funds to begin to replace and repair the roof. Huntington citizen, Julie Jones led the effort during the Emery County Fair Days and Castle Valley Pageant to host a lamb fry with the proceeds raised going to the foundation to start the project. An anonymous donor has agreed to supply the funds for the purchase of the flour mill from the private owner.
Foundation members know some people in the community do not want to see the flour mill restored. They understand their concerns. But, since this group has chosen to take the initiative and begin a process, they would like the support of the community. They see the restoration of the old mill as a beginning point to help further beautify Huntington.
Right now in Huntington there is the Star Grill building and the Star Theatre building among others that sit vacant as does the Huntsman Motors building. The abandonment of these buildings leads to an unattractive appearance on Main Street in Huntington. The flour mill can be restored to a building of interest and beauty in the community. Those involved want to raise the funds, seek grants and do everything they can to see the flour mill restored to a useful condition.
I personally, don't have much interest in the flour mill. It doesn't effect me much. I don't live in the neighborhood surrounding the old mill and maybe I would feel differently if I did. But, if I did live near the mill, I would enjoy seeing it restored and being a useful building again. I don't like the fact that some people think everything should be torn down. I like history. I like to see how things used to be and how they worked. These types of historic buildings can be a teaching tool for our children and grandchildren as they learn from the past. I don't think the past should be forgotten. There is much to be learned from the way things used to be and simpler times in our communities. If a museum is possible there, then I would say go for it.
There are those willing to put their time, money, heart and soul into the restoration. For those people who are so committed, I would say to everyone else get out of their way and let them move forward. If they succeed, then awesome, if they don't, then we aren't any worse off than we are right now. So I would say let them give it a try and get behind them and support them. You don't have to agree with the project, but don't stand in the way and don't be negative and a naysayer. If you don't personally have an interest in the project, then that's fine, but don't spoil the interest and the intentions of those who wish to make the project a success.
Please note again, for there is confusion on the matter, Huntington City will not be involved in the project in any way. They will not fund nor support the project but shall remain neutral. There may be interested people who serve on the Huntington City Council involved with the project, but their involvement is strictly personal and doesn't have anything to do with their position on the council.
While I'm on the subject of old buildings, I will throw this out there. A few months back I was in an Emery County Travel Bureau meeting and they discuss ways to encourage tourists to visit our county and to spend money here. Mark H. Williams is on the council and he visits Arizona each winter and he told about a place he visited which is a former mine and how they have fixed it up with a restaurant and entertainment and a cowboy atmosphere. People come from miles around to go there. Cowboys and outlaws are always popular themes. What I was thinking was with the old Star Grill in Huntington which is a historic building built in the early days of Huntington. What if it was turned into a cowboy and outlaw museum. What if the Star Theatre was reopened in conjunction with the cowboy and outlaw museum and old time cowboy and outlaw movies were shown there. People could visit the museum then watch an old movie and go to the newly restored flour mill for a sandwich and tour. Of course, everything takes money, but there are grants out there for restoration projects so I guess we'll wait and see if these dreams and plans can become reality.