One of many forts built by the Mormons to protect settlers and serve as way stations for travelers, Fort Deseret, Utah was erected in 1865, in the midst of the Blackhawk Indian War. At this time, the U.S. Army was too committed to the Civil War to protect settlers traveling through the west and advised pioneers to either move to a safe city or build a fort. The Mormons decided to build a fort.
With nearly 100 men working on the fort, it was completed in just 18 days, with an opening celebration held July 25, 1865.
Constructed of mud and straw, it’s 10 foot high walls were provided portals through which guns could be fired. It had two corner bastions and was approximately 550 feet square.
In the spring of 1866, the fort protected area inhabitants when Blackhawk and his warriors arrived. With the people and most of the livestock inside the fort, the Indian’s threats were settled peacefully.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fort Deseret is the only remaining example of the many adobe forts built in Utah. Today, the fort is part of an undeveloped State Park that continues to stand due to local volunteers. Though most of the 10-foot walls have fallen down, the corners, two bastions, and the majority of the east wall still stand.
Fort Desert is on Utah Highway 257 about one mile south of Deseret, Utah.
By Kathy Weiser-Alexander updated February 2020.