Cove Fort was commissioned to be built by the Governor of the Utah Territory, Brigham Young, in 1867. At the time a stagecoach ride from Salt Lake City to St. George was at least a two-day ride and he recognized the need traveler's would have to eat, wash, and rest along the way. In the heart of Kanosh Indian country, the enclosed fort-style building could have protected residents and travelers if the need should arise...the need never did arise...
Any fan of history will love and appreciate the restoration work at Cove Fort. Each room is filled with period-authentic furniture and decor. My favorites were 3-gallon porcelain bowls in the kitchen and a leather top-hat box in the room where Brigham Young stayed. I also had fun showing my 4-year-old the chamber pot. I could never mimic the look on his face when our tour guide told him his job would be to empty and clean it everyday.
A lot of improvements have been made to the Cove Fort property since I last visited 10 years ago. The parking lot sits east of a beautiful shaded lawn and picnic area. Right now there is an impressive vegetable garden growing around two walls of the fort and a blacksmith shop, ice house, and barn are also open for touring.
Do I want you to go and see what's to see at the Cove Fort Historical Site? Definitely. Do I recommend driving there, touring, and coming back all in the same day? Probably not if you're coming from farther than Beaver or Fillmore. But the next time you're on your way to or from St. George, plan a stop to rest, wash, and eat while taking in a part of Utah history.
Directions and Information:
Take I-15 Exit 135, turn east to cross back over the interstate, and follow signs 1.5 miles to the Cove Fort site. Parking lot and restrooms will be on the left when you arrive.
Free tours at Cove Fort are provided by senior missionaries for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and last about 45 minutes. Be prepared for them to greet you right at your car and then enjoy the vast historical stories and knowledge they are eager to share.
More information available on the Cove Fort Historic Site Visitor Guide.