“Utah’s Cove Fort Donated to Church,” Ensign, Oct. 1988, 74–75
The deed to historic Cove Fort, the only Utah pioneer fort still standing, was presented to the Church at a noon ceremony at the fort on Saturday, August 13.
Representing the Church at the ceremony was President Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency, whose grandfather built the fort and whose father, Bryant S. Hinckley, spent his boyhood years there.
Situated near U.S. Highway 91 in Millard County, the stone fort was built in 1867 by Ira Nathaniel Hinckley, then of Coalville. Brother Hinckley was given the assignment by Brigham Young, President of the Church and the first governor of the Territory of Deseret, later named Utah.
Although Brigham Young had an Indian policy of “feeding rather than fighting,” he deemed it desirable to build forts to protect the colonies outside of the Salt Lake Valley.
In a letter dated 12 April 1867, Brigham Young told Ira Hinckley that the fort needed to be built “to afford protection from the Indians to the Telegraph & mail stations and to travellers.” The fort, with four walls that were each a hundred feet long and eighteen feet high, never suffered an attack.
The property changed hands over the years until the descendants of Ira Hinckley organized the Cove Fort Acquisition and Restoration Foundation and acquired the fort and eleven surrounding acres with water rights. All have now been deeded to the Church.