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Utah Forts of the Old West

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Utah Forts


Camp Floyd

Cove Fort

Fort Buenaventura

Fort Deseret

Fort Douglas

Fort Duchesne

Fort Utah



Cove Fort, Utah

Cove Fort, Kathy Weiser, April, 2008.

This image available for photographic prints  and downloads HERE!


Camp Floyd - A short-lived U.S. Army post near Fairfield, Utah. The Stagecoach Inn was a nearby hotel which also served as a stagecoach stop and a Pony Express stop. See full article HERE.

Cove Fort

Cove Fort was built on the earlier site of Willden's Fort, constructed in 1861by
Elliot Willden and consisting of just three rooms and a dugout. By 1865; however, Indian attacks were becoming too common and Elliot Willden moved his family south to the town of Beaver.

Willden's moving left travelers without a sanctuary from hostile Indians in the very year that the Black Hawk War began. So, two years later,  Brigham Young ordered that a new fort be built with church funds, to protect travelers through the area.   

Cove Fort, Utah CourtyardBetween April and November of 1867, quarrymen, stonemasons, carpenters, and laborers from nearby settlements worked together to construct the fort under the direction of Ira Hinckley who was the superintendent of the construction. When it was complete, the "new" fortress again provided a refuge for settlers, protecting them for hostile Indians and acting as a  way station for travelers between Salt Lake City and Mormon settlements in the Virgin River Valley and in southern Nevada and California. The site was a favorite camping place of Brigham Young, himself, who made frequent trips to southwestern Utah. One of its 12 original rooms housed a telegraph station on the Mormon line. Other rooms served as a stage station and post office. Fortunately, Indians never attacked or besieged the fort. 

The builder of the fort, Ira N. Hinckley, maintained it as a residence until 1877. After his move, a number of different families occupied the fort property.

Today, Cove Fort is owned by the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Church, who operates it as a museum. It  is the only fort built by the church in the 1800's that still stands in the state of Utah. Parts of the original fort buildings have been restored and the barn and blacksmith shop have been re-created. 

The site is open daily and is free. Free guided tours are available. Reservations are suggested for groups of 20 or more. The fort is located immediately northeast of the junction of I-15 and I-70, 24 miles north of Beaver and 20 miles south of Kanosh, Utah.


More Information:


Cove Fort Historic Site
Cove Fort,




Fort Buenaventura

Established in 1846 by trapper, Miles Goodyear, Fort Buenaventura was the first permanent Anglo settlement in the Great Basin in what is now present-day Ogden, Utah. Located just east of a bend in the Weber River, the picket enclosed fortress served as a trading post for trappers, traders, and travelers passing through the region.


In November, 1847, Fort Buenaventura and the surrounding land claim was purchased by Mormon settlers for $1,950. The new settlement that soon grew up was renamed Brownsville, but was later changed to Ogden after Peter Skene Ogden, a trapper in the Weber Valley.

Though none of the original buildings continue to stand at the old trading post, the fort has been reconstructed on the original site. The rebuilding was painstakingly conducted utilizing archaeological evidence and written accounts to reflect its original features. The fortís dimensions, height of pickets, method of construction, and number and styles of log cabins are all based on documented facts. There are no nails in the stockade; instead historic wooden pegs and mortis and tenion joints hold the wall together.

Now the Weber County Park, the 32-acre site also includes a visitor center, group camping and day-use area, picnic tables, canoe rentals and modern rest rooms. Mountain men activities are held as special times throughout the spring and summer.

More Information:

Fort Buenaventura

2450 A Avenue
Utah 84401


Fort Deseret

Fort Deseret, UtahOne of many forts built by the Mormons to protect settlers and serve as way stations for travelers, Fort Deseret 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.


Fort Douglas - One of the oldest US Army posts in Utah, Fort Douglas was established in 1862 on a rise overlooking Salt Lake City. See full article HERE.


Fort Duchesne


In 1885 and 1886 intertribal violence erupted among the Ute Indians, requiring four companies of Infantry and two troops of African-American  Cavalry to be rushed to the area. About 700 Indians confronted the troops near where the soldiers would build Fort Duchesne, but diplomacy averted a clash.

The fort site was officially chosen on August 20, 1886 and construction began in October. Buildings included officers' and enlisted men's quarters, a commissary, a storehouse, and a hospital, all of adobe brick. Fort Duchesne was designated to guard the Indian frontier in eastern Utah, western Colorado, and southwestern Wyoming.

The fort served with an average detachment of 250 men until it began to decline in the 1890s. In 1893, four infantry companies were removed to Fort Douglas and by 1909 there was only one company of cavalry left. By the next year, inspecting officers were recommending closure of the post and on September 13, 1912, the last remaining cavalry unit left for Fort Boise, Idaho. The buildings were then given over to the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.


Today, some of the original fort buildings are still in use, though others have been razed. The fort is located on the west bank of the Uintah River about 22 miles south of Vernal, Utah.

Fort UtahFort Utah


Just a few days after the Battle Creek Massacre, the Mormon church decided to build Fort Utah. President of the soon to be Provo Branch, John S. Higbee, along with brother Isaac and Dimick B. Hintington, church counselors, led a group of about 150 people from Salt Lake City to build the fortress at the present-day city of Provo, Utah. Established on March 12, 1849, the fort included several log houses, surrounded by a 14 foot palisade, with gates one the east and west sides, and a middle deck, for a cannon.


The fort became a trading post for a short time, with the Mormon settlers trading guns and ammunition with the Indians, for furs and pelts. However, this changed when three Mormon men killed an Indian called "Old Bishop." The tension between those living at the fort increased to ultimately result in the Battle of Fort Utah.


Today, the original fort is long gone, but a scaled-down version has been recreated in Pioneer Park at 500 W. Center St, Provo, Utah.



© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated September, 2016.




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