COVE FORT, Utah — More than 4,600 visitors came to the Cove Fort Historic Site on Aug. 6 and 7 to share in a look back at the pioneer heritage of this part of Utah. Greeted by the 26 senior missionary couples in period dress and assisted by former missionaries and friends of the fort, visitors had the opportunity to look back to an earlier year during the annual Cove Fort Days.
A working blacksmith drew a crowd, as did the pottery demonstration. The potter intertwined gospel themes with his pottery making for the young visitors, many of whom left with a small clay jar and a greater appreciation of who they are. There were beekeepers, soap makers working on an open fire, hair weaver, quilters, rug weavers, knappers (making arrowheads and knifes) and wood carvers all showing the skills of those early settlers.
Members of the Pioneer Heritage Association set up their encampment on site and invited the public into their camp to see first-hand how the pioneers lived and to participate in the many activities and games common to those early settlers.
All who came had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride in an authentic stagecoach or other wagons and coaches drawn by horses and mules.
Live entertainment on stage, under the elm trees, provided a break and place to relax while listening to music and poetry provided by a variety of artists.
The fort was built in 1867 under the direction of Ira Hinckley, the grandfather of President Gordon B. Hinckley. Ira accepted a call from Brigham Young to leave his Coalville home and travel to Cove Creek to build a fort as a refuge for travelers. Restored and dedicated in 1994, it now serves as a modern way station — not as a shelter from physical fatigue or protection, rather a spiritual way station, where all can be reminded of the faith of their forefathers, where they can refresh their sense of sacrifice and obedience and their dedication to duty, and where they can be reminded of the values of work, provident living, self-sufficiency and family unity.
Guided tours are available. See “www.covefort.com” for information.
Parley Baldwin is the director of the Cove Fort historic site.