Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cove Fort

The kids had a dentist visit in Cedar City and then we wanted to go to the Millard County Fair in Delta, Utah, so instead of making two separate trips, we decided to combine the two. That meant we got to travel some different roads. We had two main route choices. I had seen that Cove Fort Days was August 3 and 4, and so that decided the route, as I had never been to Cove Fort. It's near the junction of I-70 and I-15.
Cove Fort was finished in 1867 as a waystation for travelers. It was built by the Mormons around a well in the fort. They didn't have enough water to build a town, but up to 75 travelers at a time stayed at the fort. Cove Fort was strategically placed half way between Fillmore and Beaver and was an important telegraph station and stop for two stagecoach lines.
By the 1890s, the LDS church decided they didn't need the fort any longer and leased it. They sold it in the early twentieth century. In 1989, descendants of Ira Hinckley, who had established the fort, bought the property and donated it back to the church. The church restored it, built a visitor center, and turned it into a historic site with free tours. During the annual celebration, they also have some extra activities.
Many people in period costume set up tents and showed glimpses of what life was like back in the late 1800s.
Some medical tools. I sure appreciate modern medicine!
A lot of people were having fun with stilts. We gave it a try but weren't too coordinated. Desert Boy found some kids in period costume and had fun playing with their toy wooden guns.

Then it was on to food. They had free hot dogs and chips.

While we were eating, we listened to some lovely entertainment.

Over on the side we couldn't help but notice some movement.

The Wells Fargo wagon was coming to the fort.

We decided to join the US mail for a little jaunt.
It was a bouncy five minute ride that had Desert Boy grinning the entire time. Desert Girl said she was even ready to go to Oregon. I can't imagine riding for days--or even hours--in that bouncy wagon. It would have been so hot and dusty. Those pioneers were tough.

The horses were so good natured. They had been giving rides all day long.

Next we decided to go see the fort. It's 100 feet long on each side, with walls made of volcanic and limestone rock. Those long-lasting materials are why the fort is still in existence. Two big doors allow access to the interior of the fort.
The walls are thick, about five thick at the base and tapering to two feet at the top.

The stars and stripes fly high over the fort.

From a little balcony, we could see the interior courtyard.

Twelve rooms are in the fort. Usually a tour guide takes people through the fort, but during this weekend, guides were stationed outside each room to increase capacity.

The kids weren't very patient about looking at the rooms, so we didn't get to see all of them, but we did see some. They looked surprisingly comfortable. In the winter it would have taken a lot of wood to heat all those rooms!

I asked one of the guides if the town of Hinckley was named after Ira Hinckley. She looked at me and said, "I didn't even know there was a town named Hinckley." I don't suppose too many people know that there's a town named Hinckley. It's a few miles west of Delta and on Highway 50, so we know about it as we travel that Highway quite a bit. I looked it up, and the town is named after Ira Hinckley. I had never given much thought about the origin of the name, so we both learned something.

We went out the back and saw an amazing garden. It looks so much better than my barely-surviving garden. Of course, it has a much better irrigation system!

Also out back was the blacksmith shop, which was really interesting.

A world-champ blacksmith was giving a live demonstration.

Desert Boy had never seen hobbles before.

Then it was on to play a ring rolling game. Desert Boy really wanted to succeed.

He did pretty well, but not as well as the older kids, and that frustrated him.

Desert Girl also gave it a try.

On the way back through the fort we stopped in the telegraph room, which had a morse code message tapping out. If only I remembered my morse code from those high school days when my friend and I would try and tap out messages to each other during class!

I enjoyed this old map of "Johnson's California, with territories of Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona". Notice what territory Las Vegas is in?

We easily spent an hour and a half at Cove Fort. It was an enjoyable stop, and I'd go back. I'm sure we only touched on a little bit of the pioneer history that the Fort preserves. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood of I-70 and I-15, it's worth a visit.


Tim H said...

Just found your blog, and wow do you have nice photos. I live at the other end of I-70 in Maryland, and where it starts, there is a sign that says "Cove Fort 2200 miles!" I checked and it's in reality 2153 miles, so I guess they rounded up.

Desert Survivor said...

I heard that folks lobbied to have a sign at the Cove Fort side that said how far it was to Baltimore, but I didn't see one.

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