Babylon Mills is a place located just below the Sky Mountain Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah, and has a very storied past. It was situated near the Virgin River to make use of water generated energy. It lies in ruins today, with the mill totally gone. In its day it was known as the Stormont Mill. It was built to see if the people could increase the minting capacity of the ore taken from Silver Reef.
Babylon was a town associated with the Stormont Mill along the Virgin River, six miles southeast of Silver Reef and twelve miles northeast of St. George. It was established in 1877 by a group of mill workers and their families. Its name came from the Babylon of Biblical times, and was probably chosen to distinguish themselves from their Mormon neighbors. About twenty families, totaling between forty and fifty people, lived in town. There were no businesses; the town’s residents rode to Leeds and Silver Reef for their essentials.
Not much else is known about the town’s history, probably because it wasn’t a particularly important place. Newspapers of the day occasionally wrote about the town, though; in an article published by The Salt Lake Tribune on August 3, 1879, it was reported that “A miner’s cabin at Babylon was destroyed by fire on Sunday last.” An article published in The Silver Reef Miner told the sad tale of a Babylon man who committed suicide.
The town of Babylon relied completely on the Stormont Mill, just as the town of Silver Reef relied completely on the mining industry. When the Stormont Mining Company announced that they were closing their mill in 1887, this spelled the beginning of the end for Babylon. No records of the town exist past 1887, but it’s possible that the town was still occupied in the 1890s because the Stormont Mill was being worked by lessees at that time.
For nearly a century, the town of Babylon lay abandoned, Then in the 1980’s, John Vought an official in the U.S. State Department, met and married Geraldine Ruth George who was the first female diplomat from southern Utah. They had three children, all sons.
John & Geraldine Vought had planned to return southern Utah and build a retirement home in the Leeds area
where Geraldine had grown up. Unfortunately, Geraldine died before they were able to do so. However,
John proceeded with the plan.
Vought bought the old Stormont Mill property and engaged St. George architect, Mary Ann Kozlowski.
John put $250,000 into the building of what he called the “Babylon House”. However, after the home caught fire
and burned down to the foundations, he abandoned the project.
Today only the ruins remain along the north side of the Virgin River. Today, only a few relics remain of the old town of Babylon. An empty home and a pile of rubble where a house once stood, sit near the road to Babylon, which starts just north of Leeds. At the Virgin River, the foundations of the Babylon House, as well as the walls of the Stormont Mill’s office, can be seen. These remnants barely begin to tell the tale of the hard-working small town of Babylon.