The Bluemel brothers, Henry John and William Oswald (Will) from Randolph, Utah, came to the Bench in February 1891 to establish the first homesteads after the Army opened the area yo homesteading. Because the elevation is higher than the post headquarters at Fort Bridger, the area was named “The Bench.” After staking claims, Will returned to Randolph to bring back their father, Henry Carl, to help them build the first house. It was a small, one-room structure built of logs with a dirt roof. Henry Carl and Will returned to Randolph to care for their family while Henry John spent the first winter alone in this home.
Will married his sweetheart, Emily Louise Pearce, in 1894 and brought her to his homestead. In 1895, Henry John married Melissa Jane Stewart, a daughter of James Wesley Stewart. Stewart was a scout in the Brigham Young party. Mary Elizabeth, a young sister of the Bluemel brothers, came for a visit. She met and later married James Wiley Stewart, a son of James Wesley.
As the area grew, the need for a community center became apparent. The first center, measuring 18 by 30 feet, was build on this site. The building served as the first church, school, community hall, and overall general meeting place. As the area continued to expand, the center was replaced by a larger building in a different location.
The Henry John homestead is still owned by his descendants who bought part of the William Oswald homestead to accommodate their growing family. This monument stands where the two homesteads come together.
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