Fort is located immediately northeast of the junction of I-15
and I-70, in the southeast corner of Millard County, twenty miles
south of Kanosh and twenty-four miles north of Beaver. Cove Fort
was constructed in 1867. Prior to its construction, the site was
occupied by a ranch-fort erected by the Charles William Willden
family in 1860.
on Cove Creek was the natural location for a night's encampment
between the communities of Fillmore and Beaver. The abandonment
of Fort Willden in 1865 left travelers without a sanctuary from
hostile Indians (the Black Hawk War commenced in 1865), or from
severe weather conditions. In addition to private parties traveling
that route, it was also necessary to afford some degree of safety
to carriers of the U.S. mail, operators of the Deseret Telegraph,
agents of the stagecoach line, and freighters who sought the refuge
and convenience of that place.
the necessity of a permanent facility at this strategic midpoint,
Brigham Young directed Ira Nathaniel Hinckley to both superintend
the LDS Church ranch at Cove Creek and to build a substantial
fort at that place. In company with Brigham Young, Ira went to
Cove Creek, arriving there on 29 April 1867. Other workmen were
called to the site, including Ira's brother, Arza Erastus Hinckley.
The building crew occupied Fort Willden during the construction
phase of Cove Fort. Between April and November 1867, the primary
structure was completed. The walls of the fort form a square which
is 100 feet on each side. The walls are comprised mainly of black
volcanic rock and dark limestone laid up in lime mortar, and are
eighteen feet high.
From its construction
in the nineteenth century into the twentieth century, a number
of families occupied the fort, sometimes on a lease arrangement
with the LDS Church. On 21 August 1919 President Heber J. Grant
as Trustee-in Trust for the LDS Church signed over title to Cove
Fort to William Henry Kesler, who had leased the land since 1903.
In 1988, the Ira and Arza Hinckley families purchased Cove Fort
from the descendants of William H. Kesler, and in ceremonies conducted
at the fort on 13 August 1988 donated the structure back to the
LDS Church for restoration as a historic site. On 9 May 1992 LDS
general authority Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the newly restored
fort. Plans for the reconstruction of outbuildings such as the
blacksmith shop and barn are now in process. Cove Fort remains
today one of the very few pioneer fortifications still standing
in good condition, of the scores built during territorial days.