Category Archives: Tooele

Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Published / by Paul McKnight / Leave a Comment

Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Write up by Paul McKnight

Placed by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp 8-184, Company 2517, No. 87

GPS coordinates: 40°2′16″N 112°47′11″W.

 

Historical Marker Text (1):

NO. 87

                        Erected AUG 23, 1940

Simpson’s Spring- Pony Express Station

            One of the important desert stations on the Pony Express and overland stage route between ST. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California. From this point, water was carried for west-bound travelers and animals. The Spring was discovered by Captain J.H. Simpson, U.S. Army. In 1858, the first east-bound Pony Express courier halted here about 5 P.M. April 7, and west-bound about 2 A.M. April 10, 1860. The Last riders passed about October 22,1861. The coming of the overland telegram made it inadvisable to continue the Pony Express.

            This monument constructed by enrollees U.S. grazing division C.C.C camp 8-184, Company 2517.

 

Historical Marker Text (2):

The Station

A number of structures have been built and destroyed in the vicinity of Simpson Springs over the years, and it isn’t known for sure which served as the station for the mail route and the Pony Express. The nearby restored cabin is located at the approximate site of the original station and closely resembles the original.

George Chorpenning did not benefit from the effort and money spent in building the mail stations. In 1859 financial troubles struck. Chorpenning’s government mail contracts were suddenly reduced; no money reached route employees during the fall. Chorpenning’s animals were “attached” and sold for back wages. William Russel acquired the new mail contract. Chorpenning notes that Russel “stepped in, took possession of my stations, provisions, improvements…” Thanks to Chorpenning, the Pony Express was in business.

Historical Marker Text (3):

Stone Cabin

Alvin Anderson used stone from the abandoned Pony Express station when he built this cabin in 1893. It was intended for his wife, who died in childbirth before she could live in it.

Extended Research:

The Pony Express was established in April of 1860. The idea behind the Pony Express was to establish an overland mail route between Joseph Missouri and Sacramento California. During this time, transporting mail and information from one side of the U.S. to the other proved too time consuming. The mail and other information was placed on a boat which sailed around to California. This could take weeks if not months. By the time the news arrived, it was too old to even matter. Therefore, the Pony Express was considered to be a better alternative to a long voyage.

William H. Russel, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell started what at the time was known as the Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Company. The postmaster general, Joseph Holt requested their services. The people who rode the Pony Express could achieve 1800 miles between Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California in just ten days. This definitely cut down the time it took for a ship to sail around the world. While the information transported was still not very current, it sure was more up to date than the news which came to California by ship.

Travel for many of the riders on the trail was often hazardous. As can be illustrated by this first-hand account by Buffalo Bill Cody, who was most famous for his Wild West Show. When Buffalo Bill joined the Pony Express, he was only 15 years old. This was not uncommon to see in the Pony Express at this time. Buffalo Bill shared his account of some of the events which happened to him while on the trail with these words:

 

“. . .The next day he [Mr Slade,the manger of Cody’s Pony Express station] assigned me to duty on the road from Red Buttes on the North Platte, to the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater – a distance of seventy-six miles – and I began riding at once.

One day when I galloped into Three Crossings, my home station, I found that the rider who was expected to take the trip out on my arrival had got into a drunken row the night before and had been killed; and that there was no one to fill his place. I did not hesitate for a moment to undertake an extra ride of eighty-five miles to Rocky Ridge, and I arrived at the latter place on time. I then turned back and rode to Red Buttes, my starting place, accomplishing on the round trip a distance of 322 miles.

Slade heard of this feat of mine, and one day as he was passing on a coach he sang out to me, ‘My boy, you’re a brick, and no mistake. That was a good run you made when you rode your own and Miller’s routes, and I’ll see that you get extra pay for it.’

Slade, although rough at times and always a dangerous character – having killed many a man – was always kind to me. During the two years that I worked for him as pony-express-rider and stage-driver, he never spoke an angry word to me.

As I was leaving Horse Creek one day, a party of fifteen Indians ‘jumped me’ in a sand ravine about a mile west of the station. They fired at me repeatedly, but missed their mark. I was mounted on a roan California horse – the fleetest steed I had. Putting spurs and whip to him, and lying flat on his back, I kept straight on for Sweetwater Bridge – eleven miles distant – instead of trying to turn back to Horse Creek. The Indians came on in hot pursuit, but my horse soon got away from them, and ran into the station two miles ahead of them. The stock-tender had been killed there that morning, and all the stock had been driven off by the Indians, and as I was therefore unable to change horses, I continued on to Ploutz’s Station – twelve miles further – thus making twenty-four miles straight run with one horse. I told the people at Ploutz’s what had happened at Sweetwater Bridge, and with a fresh horse went on and finished the trip without any further adventure.”

On June 16, 1860 congress approved the construction of a telegraph line which would connect the west coast with other lines in Missouri. Thus, in October of 1861 the Pony Express was deemed obsolete and unnecessary. The travel was dangerous, the rides were long. The Pony Express station at Simpson Springs was just one of many stations along the route to California. Riders would arrive at this station and either another rider would continue the ride or the same rider would switch horses and continue riding to the next station. The arrival of the telegraph put an end to the hazardous transfer of information. This station at Simpson Springs served as one of many stations used by members of the Pony Express such as Buffalo Bill. Such stations provided security, food, and fresh horses for incoming riders.

Primary Source:

  • “Pony Express Rider, 1861” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2008).

Secondary source:

https://www.nps.gov/poex/learn/historyculture/index.htm

 

Garfield and Lake Point Resorts

Published / by Ben Kiser / Leave a Comment

Written by Benjamin Kiser, MA History Student, University of Utah

Placed By:  Daughters of Utah Pioneers Tooele County Company

GPS Coordinates:  40°42’57.0″N 112°14’21.9″W

Historical Marker Text:

Garfield and Lake Point Resorts Marker

DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEERS No. 115

ERECTED 1954

GARFIELD & LAKE POINT RESORTS

            From 1881 to 1893 Garfield Beach was the most famous and finest recreation resort on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, with its railroad station, lunch stand, restaurant, bath houses and pier leading to the dance pavilion, and with the pioneer steamboat “City of Corinne” exhibited at anchor.  Lake Point was located 1 miles west.  A three story hotel erected there by Dr. Jeter Clinton became a stopping place for overland stages.  The boulder used for this shaft was taken from “Old Buffalo Ranch” one half mile west.

TOOELE COUNTY

Extended Research:

Marker with Great Salt Lake on Right, I-80 and Oquirrh Mountains on Left

From the beginning of Euro-American settlement in Utah, Utahns have enjoyed recreation.  Before the rise of Wasatch Mountain ski resorts, hiking, and biking trails, residents turned to the Great Salt Lake for their recreational pursuits.[1]  The late 1800s were the heyday of Great Salt Lake resorts.  Two of the earliest resorts were at Garfield Beach and Lake Point.  Dr. Jeter F. Clinton, Mormon physician and Salt Lake City alderman turned resort promoter, founded Lake Point resort, also known as Clinton’s Landing, in 1870, building a large “Lake House” near the beach at the northwest point of the Oquirrh Mountains.  The resort remained small until 1875 when the Utah Western railroad completed a branch out to the area.  Expansion began leading to the construction of a multitude of bathhouses along the beach.[2]  Bathers came to Lake Point to experience the Great Salt Lake’s saline water, described by one local booster as “so buoyant; never chilling, it is so warm, free from danger, recreating and invigorating, a tonic for all, a healing for many ills, health restoring and strength renewing.”[3]  Lake Point was also a hub for the renowned steamboat “City of Corinne” which would transport passengers across the lake to Corinne, a railroad town on the Bear River.  Eventually, Black Rock and Garfield Resorts would eclipse Lake Point in grandeur and visitation.[4]

Lake Point Illustration from the Great Salt Lake
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

Lake Point also served as a backdrop to an interesting incidence in the Utah Territory.  A breakaway from Mormonism, a group called the Morrisites under leader Joseph Morris, formed in the early 1860s.  Conflict quickly ensued between the dominant Mormon population and the newly formed sect.  In 1862, the territorial militia was called out to subdue the Morrisites, ultimately leading to the death of Joseph Morris.  A member of the Morrisite presidency, John Banks, was mortally wounded in the skirmish.  Dr. Jeter Clinton attended to Banks but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.  Shortly after Banks’s death, some Morrisites began spreading rumors that Clinton killed Banks while tending to him.  Authorities largely left the rumors unheeded until 1877 when they arrested Clinton at his Lake Point home, indicting him for the murder of John Banks.  While ultimately exonerated of the crime, the Deseret News reported the 1877 case as an example of “shameful abuse” of a “prominent Mormon” in which “the bigotry, intolerance and persecuting spirit of our opponents…have been among the bitterest and most unprincipled.”[5]  Taken in the context of increased federal weakening of Mormon control over the territory through the 1874 Poland Act, the Clinton case provides a curious commentary on how Mormons perceived one instance of judicial persecution in the territory.

Garfield Beach Resort Pavilion and Bathers
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

Garfield Beach resort, located approximately 1.5 miles to the east of Lake Point, opened its doors in 1875, remaining the premier Great Salt Lake destination until the opening of Saltair in 1893.  A product of the Utah Western Railway’s expansion into Tooele County, Garfield Beach wowed visitors with a 165 by 62 feet dance pavilion over the lake.  The resort cost $70,000.  Six trains a day serviced Garfield bringing 80,000 people to the beach in 1888.  The “City of Corinne” docked at Garfield, as well, where it furnished steamboat rides on the lake for 25 cents.[6]  The great resort dwindled after Saltair’s opening, as it experienced a reduction in visitors and beach degradation due to the pesky nature of the Great Salt Lake’s fluctuating levels.  Garfield Beach resort ultimately succumbed to a fire in 1904.[7]

Garfield Beach Advertisement
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

A 2017 trip to the southern shores of the Great Salt Lake reveals a landscape greatly changed from the high point of lake recreation from the 1870s to the 1890s.  An interstate highway runs where both resorts once stood.  Little evidence remains of the great pavilions, lunch bars, railroad stations, and dance halls that were the highlight of a trip to Utah in the late nineteenth century.  Though a reconstructed Saltair remains, the specters of Lake Point and Garfield are long gone, eclipsed in a recreational shift from the Great Salt Lake to the Wasatch Mountains.

Garfield Beach from the Foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains
Courtesy Utah State Historical Society

[1] Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).

[2] Dale L. Morgan, The Great Salt Lake (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973 [1949]), 355-356.

[3] Ovando James Hollister, The Resources and Attractions of the Territory of Utah (Omaha: Omaha Republican Publishing House, 1879), 66, accessed March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/resourcesattract00holl.

[4] Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012), 177-179.

[5] “The Infamous Proceedings against Dr. Clinton,” Deseret News, April 30, 1879, retrieved on February 16, 2017, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2661652&q=jeter+clinton&page=3&rows=50&fd=title_t%2Cpaper_t%2Cdate_tdt%2Ctype_t&sort=date_tdt+asc&gallery=0&facet_paper=%22Deseret+News%22#t_2661652.

[6] Marcus E. Jones, Resources and Attractions of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Real Estate Board, 1889), 46-48, accessed on March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/saltlakecity1889eng.

[7] Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 154-158.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

Ovando James Hollister, The Resources and Attractions of the Territory of Utah (Omaha: Omaha Republican Publishing House, 1879), accessed March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/resourcesattract00holl.

“The Infamous Proceedings against Dr. Clinton,” Deseret News, April 30, 1879, retrieved on February 16, 2017, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/details?id=2661652&q=jeter+clinton&page=3&rows=50&fd=title_t%2Cpaper_t%2Cdate_tdt%2Ctype_t&sort=date_tdt+asc&gallery=0&facet_paper=%22Deseret+News%22#t_2661652.

Marcus E. Jones, Resources and Attractions of Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Real Estate Board, 1889), accessed on March 29, 2017, https://archive.org/details/saltlakecity1889eng.

Secondary Sources

Jared Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.)

Dale L. Morgan, The Great Salt Lake (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973 [1949].)

Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012.)

Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998.)

Adobe Rock

Published / by Ben Kiser / Leave a Comment

Written by Benjamin Kiser, MA History Student, University of Utah

Placed By:  Tooele County Company of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers

GPS Coordinates: 40°39’36.2″N 112°17’18.4″W

Historical Marker Text:

DUP Marker Jan 22, 2017

DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEERS No 103

ERECTED JULY 27, 1947.

ADOBE ROCK

On July 27, 1847, three horsemen from the scouting party sent out by Brigham Young, obtained an excellent view of the surrounding valley, from the top of this rock.  In 1849, Captain Howard Stansbury of the United States Topographical Engineers built a small adobe house by this rock, for his herders, hence the name “Adobe Rock”.  The near by highway follows the same route as the old pioneer trail used by explorers, trappers, emigrants and gold seekers.A spring near by made this a favorite camp site.

Extended Research:

Adobe Rock Jan 22, 2017

Adobe Rock is a large stone promontory in the northeast corner of Tooele Valley.  Early explorers of the Great Basin, California-bound pioneers, and Mormon residents of the valley saw Adobe Rock, a collection of three individual boulders, as a prominent landmark.  According to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers historical marker that was placed on the rock in 1947, three men from Brigham Young’s scouting party surveyed the valley from atop the rock. [1]  Unfortunately, a written account of this much-referenced incidence is nowhere to be found. However, Mormons weren’t the first to distinguish the rock as a significant spot in the valley’s landscape.  Though no written record exists, Goshutes who occupied the Tooele area were well acquainted with the valley’s geologic landmarks.  The first Euro-Americans to describe Adobe Rock and the surrounding area were overland migrants who took Hastings Cutoff in 1846 on their way to California.  Edwin Bryant, a California immigrant with a book deal to publish his expedition’s journal, recounts that on July 31, 1846 “we passed several remarkable rocks rising in tower-like shapes from the plain, to the height of sixty or eighty feet.”[2]   A few short weeks later, Henrich Lienhard, a Swiss emigrant to California, recorded his entrance to the Tooele Valley, camping at a spring that modern historians interpret to be near Adobe Rock.[3]

Perhaps the most prolific character to venture near Adobe Rock was U.S. Army Captain Howard Stansbury.  In an 1849 expedition around the Great Salt Lake to study its environs and the geology of the mountains bordering it, Stansbury entered the Tooele Valley from the west, exiting toward Salt Lake to the east near Black Rock.[4]  A variety of secondary sources, including the DUP marker on Adobe Rock, reference the construction of an adobe hut near the rock for Stansbury’s herdsman to occupy while wintering cattle in the “Tuilla” Valley.[5]  However, in Stansbury’s report, no reference is made to Adobe Rock or the construction of a hut for his herdsman. In fact, Stansbury does not even include Adobe Rock on the map he attaches to his report.[6]  References are made to herds wintering in the valley, but there is no specific mention of the adobe hut.

Regardless of whether or not reports on the construction of a herdsman hut are accurate, Adobe Rock was a striking feature on the landscape for overland travelers who took Hastings Cutoff, government explorers, and Mormon pioneers.  The boulder remains an iconic Tooele County landmark as State Route 36, the main highway to Tooele, passes nearby to the west.

Howard Stansbury’s Map of the Great Salt Lake and Adjacent Country in the Territory of Utah
Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

 

[1] Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012), 169-170.

[2] Edwin Bryant, “The Journal of Edwin Bryant,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns, 78.

[3] Heinrich Lienhard “The Journal of Heinrich Lienhard,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns, 138.

[4] Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Washington, D.C.: Robert Armstrong, 1853), 117-199, accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015073282918;view=1up;seq=146.

[5] Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998), 55.

DUP, History of Utah’s Tooele County, 161-162.

[6]  Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, and Co., 1852), 3, accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015070221182;view=1up;seq=9;size=400.

For Further Reference:

Primary Sources

Edwin Bryant, “The Journal of Edwin Bryant,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns.

Heinrich Lienhard “The Journal of Heinrich Lienhard,” in Utah Historical Quarterly 19 (1951), ed. J. Roderic Korns.

Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Washington, D.C.: Robert Armstrong, 1853), accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015073282918;view=1up;seq=146.

Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo, and Co., 1852), accessed March 29, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015070221182;view=1up;seq=9;size=400.

Secondary Sources

Tooele County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, History of Utah’s Tooele County: From the Edge of the Great Basin Frontier (Tooele, UT: Transcript Bulletin Publishing, 2012.)

Ouida Blanthorn, comp., A History of Tooele County (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1998.)