My Views of Utah

Cove Fort - Utah Pioneer Fort

Located between Fillmore and Beaver,
near the junction of I-15 and I-70

Photos taken Summer 2001

Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this website were taken by Venita*.

small map

Most Utah pioneer forts were made of logs and were constructed to provide shelter for families until it was deemed safe to build homes outside the fort. Although there was little conflict with the Native Americans, a great fear of them remained in the minds of most of the newcomers and precautions were considered to be necessary. There are replicas throughout the state, but none of those original log forts remain.

A fort built of stone does remain, however. Located along the I-15 corridor about halfway between the towns of Fillmore and Beaver (about a day's travel to either town in the 1800s), it has recently been restored and refurnished to match its original condition when in use between about 1868 and 1888. It was built of the black volcanic rock, which is abundant in the area, by a crew led by Ira Hinckley. Because of the lack of water in the area, it didn't seem feasible to build a community there, so the fort became a way station for stagecoach passengers, postal riders and others travelling along the "Mormon Corridor."

Currently it provides a way station for those travelling at high speed along the freeway, now about 15 minutes to either Beaver, south, or Fillmore, north along I-15, or to Richfield, east along I-70. It's a chance to rest under the trees, have a picnic in the park, and learn something of Utah history from the helpful volunteers who are there year-round.

view of the fort

Above: This photo shows the Cove Fort as it may have looked to the weary traveller nearing the gate. Notice the few trees planted nearby. When the pioneers arrived, very few trees were found in these high desert valleys. These were most likely brought from the eastern mountains and transplated here.

Fort Door

Above: Nearing the front entrance, one can appreciate the strength of the fort walls which are four feet thick at the footings and two and one half feet thick at the top. Each of the four walls is 100 feet long. The massive double doors are built of pine on front and back with cotton in between to make them heavier than they appear and to absorb the shock of arrows. Fortunately, no hostilities ever occurred at the fort.

close-up of door timbers close-up of door handle.

Above: Obviously, graffiti isn't unique to our time. Many visitors, notable or not, have left their marks in the soft pinewood. The iron door handle is not original but was forged and shaped in the same processes as those used 100+ years ago. A modern day blacksmith created it especially for this door.

Inside south wall

Above: The south wall contained the office, telegraph room/post office, kitchen and dining area, laundry and weaving room, and the bedroom for the Hinckley boys. Each room had it's own fireplace, hence the many chimneys. The Locust trees in the lawn were planted by the family.

West and north walls
Above: The back wall (left), facing west, has a single door built the same way as the double doors on the front. On either side of the door are two gun slots, four in all. Each one is reached by a small set of steps, and the riser is provided for the gunman to stand on.

gun slot

Above: Gun slots were narrow on the outside of the wall and widened on the inside, allowing the shooter to aim at different angles. Nonetheless, it appears he would have had a limited range of view.

north wall

Above: On the north wall were three guest rooms, the Hinckley girls' bedroom, the parents' bedroom and the "Prophet's Room" which was used by Brigham Young each year as he travelled to and from his winter home in St. George as well as any other time he came this far south of Salt Lake City (about 150 miles).

East wall and entrance

Above: The entry wall faces east. Notice the stairs leading to the lookout walkway atop the wall. When the fort was in full use, the walkway extended all the way around.

There is much more to see! Please choose:

Page two: Inside some rooms
Page three: The out buildings
Page four: Feeding the guests
Page five: The Hinckley Cabin

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*Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this website were taken by Venita, who also holds the copyright. Should you wish to download any of them for any reason (other than your own enjoyment), please credit  Venita  as the photographer and add my URL:

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