Cove Fort Historic Site is located just 30 miles from Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort, an easy drive on Highway 89 and Interstate 70. It was founded in 1867 by Ira Hinckley (the paternal grandfather of Gordon B. Hinckley) at the request of Brigham Young.
The fort was originally built to provide protection and refreshments to early travelers in the area. Workers hauled in the lava rock used to construct the forth, an unusual construction material during that time period, one reason the fort is still standing today. It is 100 square feet, 18.5′ fall, 4′ thick at the footings and 2 1/2′ thick at the top.
Brigham Young chose the location for Cove Fort because it is located about halfway between Fillmore (previously the State Capitol of the Utah Territory) and the nearest city to the South, Beaver Utah. For people traveling the Mormon Corridor, this was a place to rest and refresh in safety. Although these early pioneers thought about building an actual city at this location, the water supply was inadequate to support a sizable population.
The fort was constructed with Black Volcanic Rock and Dark Limestone, in contrast to many buildings constructed in the mid 1800’s which used wood, and is still standing today because of it. Two sets of large wooden doors are located at east and west ends of the building, and were originally filled with sand to stop arrows and bullets.
In addition to being a stop for weary travelers (it was a daily stop for two stagecoach lines), Cove Fort also had a blacksmith/farrier, wagon wheel repair, telegraph office, and a Pony Express Stop. During it’s busiest times, Cove Fort housed and fed up to 75 people at a time.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints decided in the early 1890’s that the fort was no longer needed, and leased it out, and eventually sold it after the turn of the 20th century. The Hinckley Family bought it in 1989 and donated it back to the LDS church. The Church then constructed a visitor’s center, transported Ira Hinkckley’s Coalville Utah Cabin to the site, and reopened the fort as a historical site.
The site provides free guided tours daily, starting from about 8 am until one half-hour before sunset. There is a park with picnic area and restrooms.
From Interstate 15 SOUTH of I-70, take Exit #132 (I-70 West towards Richfield/Denver) and then take Exit #1 off I-70.
From Interstate 15 NORTH of I-70, take Exit #135 towards Cove Fort.
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