Building Upon a Vision 2

Gardner Village’s Newest Expansion

The proverbial phrase, “It takes a village,” supports the idea of a community meeting all of a child’s needs. For both children and adults, this idealistic type of kinship can be experienced at Gardner Village.

The property was initially settled by the reputably industrious, Archibald Gardner. Gardner emigrated from Scotland as one of the original Mormon pioneers with the first wave of pioneers to enter the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. He established one of the first business hubs on the west side of the Jordan River to include a grist mill, mattress factory, broom factory, blacksmith shop and general store. Gardner, who was an experienced mill builder, built the first mill in 1853 and the existing larger mill in 1877.  Gardner was granted the first commercial water rights issued in Utah to develop irrigation canals. The Mill and surrounding property was passed down to other owners and eventually it was left vacant.

The vision of what we know today as Gardner Village, started in 1979 by Nancy Long, her family and Chris Christenson along with many dedicated staff. Long purchased the property originally planning to convert the mill into a house, but with the site’s unique history, her experience in retail and an entrepreneurial drive, she turned it into a specialty retail furniture shop named Country Furniture & Gifts, now known as CF Home Furniture & Design.

Period cabins, houses, buildings and even a train station were relocated and restored to create a village of pathways with covered bridges set along a waterway. Long’s dream of opening a restaurant became a reality in 1990 when Archibald’s opened in the Old Gardner Mill alongside CF Home Furniture & Design.

The Old Gardner Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1987 it was recognized with the Utah Heritage Award as the most improved commercial building. Aspects of the mill’s history have been preserved with artifacts on display in the recently renovated CF Home Furniture & Design store and Archibald’s Restaurant. The historic integrity of the mill and other buildings are preserved through the pioneer-era inspired architecture.

Long’s son, Joe Long, and her daughter Angie Gerdes, continue to develop her vision of Gardner Village with an expansion of a new plaza which will allow for more entertainment options including concerts, community performance areas, expanded festival displays and patio dining. Added water features will increase the tranquility of the atmosphere for hosting events in the new banquet room which will include a bar and reception area. The expected completion date is May 2017, but a waterwheel dining area, a gear room, and a lower part of the silo have been accessible since October 2016. Future plans also include adding a hotel and convention center.  More about this transformation may be found at GardnerVillage.com.

Randi Smith with The Black Goose Design, a sister company of Gardner Village, is involved with the plaza expansion project. She has been with the Gardner Mill Company for over 21 years and her great-great-great grandfather actually worked for Archibald Gardner at the exact same location. Products Smith has selected for the project are available through the Gardner Mill Company Stores like wood grain wallpaper at The Black Goose Design and more may be found at CF Home Furniture & Design, Down to Earth and Layers Beautiful Bedding. Efforts are being made so that guests may view the original structure including a stone room with stepped walls as well as more of the inner mechanical workings of the mill.

The vision of the Village has progressed through the festive traditions family and friends look forward to each year as a break from the ordinary, such as Woodland Fairies, Garden Tea parties, a petting zoo or pony rides at The Farm, the ‘Best of State’ WitchFest, and Elf displays during the Christmas season.

Talents or “sweet tooths” may be developed through chocolate classes at the candy shop or quilting classes at the fabric store, with numerous project ideas on display to inspire the experienced crafter or novice.

The setting provides many backdrops for a family photograph through the on-site photography studio.

A day or night out at the spa and salon will be complete after browsing through personable gifts, treats of all kinds, chic and trendy clothing, furniture, home decor items, the art cottage, or the periodic fruit and veggie market.

It takes a village like Gardner Village to create great memories that bring us back to our roots. From sweet sixteens to weddings to corporate parties, the current event venue, The Gathering Place, is an ideal spot to consider. Gardner Village’s central location, about 12 miles from Draper, makes it an ideal gathering place. They are fulfilling Nancy’s vision while being true to their slogan of “small shops, big experiences!”