Cove 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
This site 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
Recognizing 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.