In 1867 at the request of Brigham Young, who was the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church / Mormon Church), Ira Hinckley, a Mormon settler was sent from his home in northern Utah to construct and manage Cove Fort. The fort was strategically positioned along what was then referred to as the Mormon Corridor, which was a route used by Mormon pioneers traveling between Salt Lake City and Southern Utah. Modern day Insterstate 15 roughly parallels this route. The primary purpose of Cove Fort was to provide a safe haven for travelers and to offer them essential services such as food, water, and a place to rest and graze their livestock.
Cove Fort was constructed using volcanic rock and limestone, with walls that are 18 feet high 100 feet (30.5 meters) in length. Hinckley and other local workers constructed the fort and a large barn in just seven months. The structure was initially designed to serve as a waystation for stagecoaches, as well as a telegraph station. It provided a place for travelers to rest, obtain fresh supplies, and receive protection. Perhaps because of its very secure structural composition, Cove Fort was never attacked by Native Americans.
Use Over the Years:
Cove Fort was also used for agricultural purposes as the settlers cultivated crops and raised livestock on the land that surrounds the fort. As transportation methods evolved, the fort's importance as a waystation diminished, and it eventually fell into disuse.
Today there is no fee (cost) to visit Cove Fort which has been restored and serves as a historic museum and visitor center maintained by the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Visitors to Cove Fort will gain greater insight into the pioneer history of the region as they explore the fort's rooms, view exhibits, and learn about the challenges faced by early pioneers. At Cove Fort visitors may tour and exerience the following:
- Cove Fort (with telegraph office, dining rooms, bedrooms, and stagecoach office.)
- Vegetable Gardens
- Blacksmith Shop
- Ice House
- Barn for animals and feed storage
- View videos about the history of the fort and more
- Converse with Cove Fort guides to learn more
- Utilize free clean restrooms
In 2023 over 33,000 people from around the world visited Cove Fort. The site is a popular rest stop for travelers on Interstate 15 and Interstate 70.