Tintic Standard Reduction Mill

A week or so ago, my second son and I headed out into the beyond…took a tour around Utah Lake…essentially followed in the tire-tracks of  my third son who had made the trip on his bike last summer.  At the southern end of the lake, the road heads back east.  About two and a half miles past the town of Goshen, you can see what appears to be the remains of something on the side of a mountain. Even from a distance, you can also see that it has been frequented by taggers and graffiti artists.  My cycling son had mentioned the ruins after his ride and suggested that we needed to check it out sometime.

Tintic Standard Reduction Mill from afar

After leaving this site and finding a stronger signal for his phone, my second son determined that these were/are the ruins of the Tintic Standard Reduction Mill…an ore processing facility that was built between 1919-1921…and only used for four years…so it has been standing vacant and abandoned since 1925.  For a very brief history of the mill, you can click on the highlighted name to be taken to the Wiki article that provides a bit of information.

Tintic Mill crop zoom

This link to the Historic American Engineering Record provides a more extensive history…and shows us what the ruins looked like back in 1971, after it had been abandoned for 46 years, and before a select demographic of our country decided that they needed to decorate the place with their spray-painted opinions and expressions of art.  The following images represent what the place looks like today…42 years after the essentially “clean” images from 1971…and 88 years after it was abandoned.

Approaching the Tintic Reduction Mill

The entirety of the mill structure spans an elevation equivalent to eight stories of a building and is situated on the side of Warm Springs Mountain, 5,535 ft elev.

Tintic Mill 1

The circular structures are leaching vats where the crushed ore would be chemically processed to remove the silver, copper, lead, and gold.

Tintic Mill 2

Tintic Mill 3

Don’t know enough about it to even guess what the circular things below were/are….

Tintic Mill 4

Under the vats…supports…drains(?)…retention walls….

Tintic Mill 5

The inside of a leaching vat…

Inside a leaching vat, Tintic Reduction Mill

These are the ore bins toward the right of the photo…above the leaching vats.

Tintic Mill 6

A view looking over the ore bins…with my son at the far end.

Tintic Mill 7


Tintic Mill 8

My son looking into the silver precipitator…the square-shaped structure with the conical (inverted pyramids) chute underneath…situated to the left of the leaching vats in the third photo above.

Tintic Mill  9

If you click on the link for the Historic American Engineering Record, you can see the diagrams that identify the various parts of the mill that I have named in the post…the leaching vats, silver precipitator, ore bins, roaster, etc….

I believe that’s the water tank in the photo below…with Savannah and Shilo painted on it…….and if you look in the very first photo above…and notice the somewhat removed, shadowy structure to the very bottom right, those are the lead precipitate bins…..

Tintic Mill 10

Looking over the ore bins…in the opposite direction.

Tintic Mill 11

The front of the roaster section….

Tintic Mill 12

I believe the space between the large structure on the right side of the image and the broken-through wall (that general area) is where the crusher was located…and the large structure is where the ore was roasted.

Tintic Mill 13

Warm Springs pond/lake below the mill….

Tintic Mill 14

Tintic Mill 15

Looking over the roaster, ore bins, silver precipitator, and leaching vats….

Tintic Mill 16

The below image is from the highest, developed area of the mill…where I was standing on the remaining foundation of what I believe you can see in the very top left corner of the last image of the post.

Tintic Mill 17

The Tintic Standard Reduction Mill before its decline….

Tintic Standard Reduction Mill Utah State Historical Society Digital Image - Copyright 2002

Hmm…so this post was quite a bit longer than my normal fare…but I hope you enjoyed it anyway…..

As always, thank you for being here.


40 responses

  1. Very interesting!

    April 15, 2013 at 6:51 am

  2. victoriaaphotography

    Fascinating (and some interesting artwork on the rock faces).

    April 15, 2013 at 7:24 am

    • I have some more interesting shots of the artwork, Victoria…will be sharing a separate post about it…wanted this one to focus more on the structure and general presence of the graffiti.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  3. I’ll bet that if you open your senses here you’ll find some industrial-strength spirits still lurking around!

    April 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

    • Wouldn’t that be fun?! Interesting anyway….. 😉

      April 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm

  4. A fascinating study. I enjoyed it very much. Does the graffiti bother you? I think it’s a bit like modern ghosts in an abandoned structure.

    April 15, 2013 at 7:58 am

    • Thank you, Shimon…I’m actually torn on the graffiti issue with places like this…part of me does find it to be very fascinating and intriguing…and another part of me wonders at the mindset that allows the individual to go out to such a place (that is still owned by the mine and is still posted with no-trespassing signs) and “deface” it with their artwork. I do like your idea of the modern ghosts visiting and living in the abandoned structures…more to think about…..

      April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm

  5. Liana

    hmmm….cliff dwellers why does this disturb and fascinate me in equal measures?

    April 15, 2013 at 8:08 am

    • Yes…hmmmm…there is a spray-painted sign on one of the rocks along the trail leading to the site that refers to them as being “Aztec ruins.” Maybe there are nighttime whispers of ancient, ghosted laborers that can be heard among those cisterns on moonlit evenings…disturbing and fascinating….

      April 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm

  6. What a cool place to explore!! You could do an entire post dedicated to the graffiti.

    April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

    • I do have some images to share, Laura…soon…and yes, a very cool place to explore…while wondering….

      April 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

  7. An interesting place, but it makes me wonder about all the nasty chemicals that must be in the soil and the ponds. Lead dust at the very least, I would think.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

    • The Wiki article does mention some reported or alleged contamination of the ponds/springs at the bottom of the mountain…I can’t help but think that there is still some nasty stuff there…even after almost 90 years of it being out of commission.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:27 pm

  8. Fascinating! What an intriguing place. Too bad it’s now covered in paint. I like graffiti in urban areas but out in the mountains…not so much.

    April 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    • A very interesting place, Susan…and yes, seems to me, too, that the graffiti belongs somewhere else…which probably enhances the intrigue of it actually being out there……

      April 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm

  9. Yes, Soonie, not in the mountains, please! You may very well have the only existing photographs of the old mill at this stage of its crumbling.

    April 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    • That’s an interesting thought, George… 🙂

      April 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm

  10. This is a very strange relic. Something about it that is rather spooky – although paradoxically the graffiti and tagging has a lightening effect on the site. I too wonder if this site harbours harmful or toxic chemicals. You’ve photographed this very well, Scott

    April 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    • It is rather thought-provoking, Andy…in so many directions, too. Thank you.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  11. Nut Balls

    How cool to see what it finally really looks like! The first time I saw it, I was about 60 miles in on my ride and really couldn’t make out what it was. Very interesting stuff 🙂

    April 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    • Happy to share it with you, Nate. 🙂

      April 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  12. That would have been quite a sight when it was in operation. Very interesting series of photos Scott. Sad though to see what the extraction industries leave behind them.

    April 15, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    • It would have been very interesting to see back then, Terry…….and yes, sad what they leave behind. I would imagine that it would have cost a lot to remove it all…and they still “own” the land/property…so they just left their old stuff on their old place…and there it is…open to everyone now……

      April 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm

  13. Interesting place Scott and well photographed. Those graffiti guys get everywhere don’t they?

    April 16, 2013 at 12:37 am

    • Thank you, Adrian…and yes they do…..

      April 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm

  14. An interesting place, great series.

    April 16, 2013 at 4:19 am

    • Thank you, Yvonne.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

  15. kai

    From the distance it evokes a desolate beauty, like some Native American ruins. Up close it appears like a rather sad statement of exploitation and the need for the human mind to make its mark. Fantastic series of photos. shanti…..

    April 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    • Thank you, Kai…compelling words…..

      April 17, 2013 at 7:12 pm

  16. Finally a few minutes to catch up . . . and what do I see? The perfect spot to build my fortress. A little shoring, a few patches here and there, mount the automated Browning .50 cal, and I’m all set.

    April 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    • You finally climb out from behind the piles of stuff and what do you see….? Wow…hopefully more of a place to hide away and be alone and not so much on the offensive……..but yes, it does resemble a bit of a fortress……

      April 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      • Wait a second! Who said anything about “offensive”? I mean, I know that’s probably accurate as far as my looks go, but fortresses are not know for their offensive capabilities. Mostly, they stand ready to shelter and protect.

        So this, in fact, is exactly what you describe . . . I place to be alone, to hide from the nasty of men . . . the .50 cal. are just to ensure it stays that way.

        April 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

        • Nope…as you said…the fortress and .50 cal would be for defense, indeed…hiding away from and protecting against the nasty of men…well said, Emilio.

          April 23, 2013 at 6:45 am

  17. A remarkable find, especially for a photographer! Scott, this series is awesome! I love the perspectives.
    I bet you’ll be going back here again!

    April 22, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    • Quite remarkable, Karen…and yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back…glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      April 23, 2013 at 6:38 am

  18. Saw these photos and this blog Google Earth. Very intriguing place. Fascinating, yet sad, it spurs the imagination all at the same time. 90 years is a long time, recent in comparison to ancient ruins around the world. Kind of nice this is in the USA. I wonder why they chose to build and incorporate this place into the mountain like that. In a strange way it reminds me a bit of Petra in Jordan. Great photography. Thanks Seekraz.

    October 10, 2013 at 4:47 am

    • Hi, Terry – yes, our history here in the USA is a bit young in comparison to other parts of the world, but these are relics of an earlier time and hold memories of what that life was like, to a degree, anyway. I would imagine that the mill was situated on the side of the mountain to help gravity facilitate the moving of ore from the upper processing bins to the lower ones…but that’s just a guess. Thank you for the nice words about the images…and thank you for visiting, as well.

      October 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

  19. Sidney M

    Hi! Just wanted to inform the general public that the Tintic Standard Reduction Mill is private property, and any sort of entrance onto the property is criminal trespassing. Beautiful place to look at from afar, but don’t cross the gate and or fences. Make law enforcements job easier, and lets show respect for the property owner.

    October 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    • Hello, Sidney M –

      I don’t know your affiliation with either the property owner or law enforcement, but I do have the opinion that if the property owner actually valued the land and its structures, it would not have been abandoned and left it as a stain on the landscape for literally 95 years. Yes, I “trespassed,” criminally or otherwise, to walk onto the posted property; however, I did not climb a fence or even open a gate to cross the imaginary line demarking what belongs to the negligent landlord and what belongs to the public (not sure who owns the surrounding “open” land); I entered through a wide open gate.

      Regarding law enforcement, I can’t imagine that they would have the faintest interest in the place unless an actual crime was committed out there or if someone was injured and then sued the company for negligence in not securing the grounds.

      The site is compelling historically, culturally, and visually, tatted-up the way it has been by the graffiti artists’ paints, but it is also an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful environment. I do not endorse damaging others’ property (spraying it with paint or stealing the remaining brick and metalwork), and I “respected” the property by visiting and admiring what I found out there, but I do not respect the person or company who owns it to the point of not walking onto it and taking a look around, as I said above, because they abandoned it almost 100 years ago and have done nothing to maintain or protect it. That said, if it had been secured and was in the condition of truly being maintained, I would not have trespassed; I would have looked at it “from afar.”

      Thank you for visiting and for leaving your thought provoking commentary…. 🙂

      October 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm

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