We can speculate as to who may have chosen to stay there in their afterlife, and why…
In the mid-1800s, a series of way stations across Utah were set up; part of a support network connected by roads, telegraph lines, and postal routes. One such way station, was built near the Cove River, a great source of clean water, Fort Walden: 1860-1865. Unfortunately, it was abandoned because of the hardships brought on by the severe winters and the dangerous situations caused by the hostile Black Hawk Indians, who went on the warpath against the white settlers.
Two years later, in 1867, it became painfully evident that a solid, secure haven was really needed at this spot, where travelers, stage coach riders and the pony express riders could spend the night, and rest their animals as well without fear of attack from bandits, hostile Indians and black-hearted folks who like to rob and kill anyone on their way from Saint George to Salt Lake City. Fresh water, good food and supplies were available, as well as a secure room for the telegraph station.
After Mormon leader, Brigham Young, asked Ira N. Hinckley to build another way station at the former Fort Walden location, Ira N. Hinckley did indeed step up to the plate, moved from his home in Coalville and established Cove Fort in just 8 months! It was a very secure fortress, with walls solidly built from volcanic lava rock and limestone quarried nearby. The walls were built 4-feet wide at the base and 2-feet wide at the top. The outer walls were built 100-feet square and 18-feet high. There are 12 rooms inside – six on the north and six on the south, all surrounding an inner courtyard. The massively thick, huge oak door was well-constructed. It is refreshing that this fort wasn’t in the business of taking advantage of people, but was an opportunity to walk the talk of their Mormon faith.
Besides being a safe and refreshing /renewing place for travelers, Cove Fort became an excellent opportunity to live and share their Mormon faith and to show love to the Indians. Ira Hinckley and other pioneers made friends with famous Paiute Chief Kanosh, and converted him to Mormonism. Chief Kanosh interceded for these pioneers, and was able to stop any Indian attacks on the fort. The Mormon pioneers also fed the neighboring Indians, became friends with them, and showed them how to farm and build homes, the Mormon way.
This Cove Fort prospered for twenty years. At its height of activity, before the railroad came through in 1869, two stage coaches would arrive daily, pony express riders, as well as folks traveling by wagon and horseback. There was a large barn to stable the animals. Hinckley repaired wagons and shooed animals for the travelers in need of his services. As the years past, the need for this way station diminished to the point that the Mormon Church sold Cove Fort to the Kessler family.
In 1988, descendants of Ira Hinckley bought back Cove Fort, and gifted this property of historical significance on several levels back to the Mormon Church. Thankful to have this treasure back, the restoration of Cove Fort began on May 21, 1994. The Historic Cove Fort Complex was dedicated by Gordon B. Hinckley, a descendant of Ira Hinckley’s family.
As the history of Cove Fort is a shining example as to what can be achieved by stepping out in faith, showing love to others, providing necessary help and sharing one’s faith, it makes sense that Mormon missionaries are the tour guides of this finely restored historical Cove Fort.
Tom and I have visited this site twice. Our first visit was on a family vacation with our two daughters, 12 and 9. Our second visit was in the summer of 2008. The fort is quite impressive, made of indestructible lava rock, quite high, providing great protection for those inside from any hostile force. Stage coaches, pony express riders, and travelers of all sorts found this to be a safe haven to stop and rest both themselves and their horses. Inside the rectangular fort, there is a grassy courtyard with trees. Around the courtyard one can visit the various rooms where people worked, slept, enjoyed meals, and went about every day life. The Mormons have done a terrific job restoring and offering such an authentic museum which captures the time period so well. During our free guided tour, courtesy of some friendly Mormon missionaries, I felt that we were back in time, and the inhabitants had just left the room for a moment.
Other structures to see at Cove Fort:
Barn – Recently, this fine barn was constructed by Amish artisans in order to have an authentic barn of this time period on display. It is stunning, as it should be, as it cost $10,000.
Blacksmith Shop – The blacksmith shacks, gardens and fields are still worked around the fort.
Hinkley’s Cabin – It was moved from Coalville, Utah and relocated to Cove Fort.
The Cove Fort Staff have experienced paranormal manifestations because they had asked Utahghosts.org to come and investigate. They don’t want the public to dwell on their unseen entity or entities, and don’t want the details of their paranormal issues to be published. They want their visitors to be open to enjoy the history of the fort and their Mormon message as well, and not be focused on ghost stories.
Utahghosts.org respect their wishes, and merely say that the Cove Fort is haunted.
To list Cove Fort as being haunted on their web site, this group must have found some evidence of these paranormal manifestations. I suspect, at the very least, they recorded EVP”s, recorded on their equipment some cold spots, and perhaps even got some photos of some orbs.
We can speculate as to who may have chosen to stay there in their afterlife, and why.
Sometimes entities haunt the land where they died, or even when the building they lived in is long gone!
The entities of people who died at this spot during the Fort Walden years as a result of the cold elements of winter or hostile attacks.
During the Cove Fort years – The Kessler years, perhaps people died from disease, illnesses or accidents, before they were willing and ready to pass over: The staff or host family – because of a huge to do list, or want to keep on eye on the living.
Perhaps they want to help the living now.
Perhaps these entities don’t know that they are dead: Perhaps some historical items on display in the Cove Fort Museum have spirits attached to them.
HC 74 Box #6500
Cove Fort, Utah 84713
Cove Fort can be found one mile north of Exit 1 off of I-70, and two miles south of Exit 135 off of I-15. Nearest town: Fillmore, Utah 15 miles.