Jul 01, 2016 09:11AM
By Bryan Scott
Gardner Village is a staple and award-winning gathering place in Salt Lake County for holidays, weddings and community events as well as a living, breathing snapshot of Utah history.
The central historical icon is a flour mill built by pioneer Archibald Gardner in 1877. Gardner, a Scottish immigrant, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with the original Mormon Pioneer in 1847.
In what is now West Jordan, Gardner Village began to exist in its first modern iteration in May 1980 as Country Furniture and Gifts, founded by Nancy Long.
Long purchased originally the property in 1979. The mill and surrounding property had passed through several ownerships and had become vacant. Long first converted the mill into a house. But her entrepreneurship drove her to open the furniture store and added a restaurant, Archbald’s Restaurant in Jan. 1990. The restaurant is housed in the old mill to this day.
Country Furniture and Gifts has since rebranded to CF Home Furniture & Design, offering unique many pieces, including Flexsteel Upholstery and a Capel Rugs.
Long, her family and hardworking staff transformed the dilapidated area into a charming retail community featuring several relocated and restored historic buildings that make up the Gardner Village shops. Historically themed features include covered bridges, red brick paths and enchanting gardens.
Gardner Village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The register is a list of historic builds deemed worthy of preservation and thus receive certain benefits from government.
The ownership of the project has since transferred to two of Long’s children: Joe Long and daughter Angie Gerdes.
Popular annual events like Gardner Village’s WitchFest always bring a family crowd to enjoy the atmosphere of restored historic buildings year after year.
Gardner Village’s WitchFest received the 2016 Best of State Award for best fair, festival and event. WitchFest landed in Gardner Village in 1999 and has become a well attended family tradition since.
Gardner Village has grown to include more than 20 shops and eateries, an animal rescue, event hall, and a ballet conservatory. The shops are brimming with the latest trends in home décor, clothing, jewelry, candy, quilts, antiques and more.
The combination of the historic buildings and one-of-a-kind shops make fore a truly vintage experience for locals and tourists alike.
From Christmas elves to enchanted springtime fairies, there is always magic in the air for families to enjoy. λ