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Plans Change For Historic Mill Sites In Brigham City After Devastating Fires

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – The old Baron’s Wollen Mills recently sold and now the neighboring Merrell Mill is up for auction in a far cry from the restoration plans some developers and the community once envisioned.

A fire in 2008 ripped apart the insides of the Merrell Planning Mill and left just a shell of what the historic site used to be.

“There would have been such a bright future for the Baron Woolen Mill,” said Jaren Davis, who had plans to turn the sites into one entrepreneurial center. “To bring people in Brigham City out of their homes and their garages, and into an environment that was to be conducive to a wonderful future for them as individuals and new businesses sprang out them.”

There were two additional fires at the neighboring Baron’s Woolen Mill — one in 2014 and another a year later.

They once served the early pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Neither site has much left behind.

“Just imagine what we could have done if it weren’t again for the act of a single individual to destroy,” Davis said.

Bryan Baron has a lot of memories at the site too.

“I actually remember coming down here and my grandpa took me on a tour of the mill,” he said, adding the woolen mill was a big piece of his family’s history.

“But I remember when he said he was going to sell it. I started saving my pennies in my piggy bank because I wanted to buy it. I thought it was a fascinating business and I wanted to continue on with the family legacy,” he said.

That didn’t work out then, but he and his father did take part in those plans to restore the mill with Davis and his business partner.

The fires crushed his family’s dreams for that too.

My grandpa and his brother were pretty sad to see the pile of rubble,” Baron said.

He is now the site’s new owner and plans to clean up the area and build a home for his family while preserving what little they can in the process.

“The original mill was built in 1870 and that cement pad that it was built on and some of the sections of the original rock wall are still standing,” he said.

It may not be ideal, but he’s glad it can at least be back with the family.

The nearby Merrell Planning Mill site is up for auction by the city. It is now just a flat piece of land.

Merrell Planning Mill site today. (Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

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