Utah Stations Utah Stations The Great Salt Lake Desert was a major obstacle facing travelers to California. Most California emigrants took the California cutoff of the Oregon Trail north of Salt Lake. That trail offered water and feed for livestock, but was closed by snow in the winter and did not serve the need for year-round communication between California and the East.

Early efforts to find a route across the desert ran afoul of salt, heat, and lack of water. Finally, a trail was pioneered that skirted the worst of the salt desert, going from spring to spring, "following the moistures". The route was poor in feed, extremely isolated, muddy in spring and fall, dusty or cold otherwise, and plagued by Indians. In spite of these drawbacks, it served the communication need and became famous as the Overland Route.

The stations indicated below (*) are located along the old Pony Express and stage road between Callao and Dugway. To get to the sites, take State Highway 36 south to Route 199 west to Dugway. The route skirts the southern fringe of the Great Salt Lake Desert. THIS IS ALL DESERT COUNTRY. ROADS ARE FAIR IN DRY WEATHER. THERE ARE NO SERVICES AND NOR LODGING. INQUIRE AS YOU PROCEED AS TO ROAD CONDITIONS.

Sir Richard Burton, English adventurer-writer provided wouldbe travelers to the West with a comprehensive report of his Western tour in 1860. The starting point of Burton's tour was the railhead of St. Joseph, Missouri. His stagecoach followed the overland route through Salt Lake City to San Francisco. Burton's travels were reported in The City of the Saints and Across the Rocky Mountains to California orginally published in 1861, and provided detailed accounts of the Nevada Pony Express stations that he visited in October 1860.

A series of articles have been published in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin describing the Pony Express country in Utah:

The Trail

The route of the Pony Express (since 1992, the Pony Express National Historic Trail) angles south and west from South Pass, across the Green River and on to Fort Bridger. The trail continues at a distance south of Interstate 80 and follows Coyote Creek, entering Utah from the east at The Needles, a few miles south of where Evanston, WY, now stands. The riders proceeded past historic Cache Cave and down Echo Canyon, the modern route or I-80 and I-84, to the present-day town of Henefer. There they turned south through East Canyon, crossed Big and Little Mountains, and entered the Salt Lake Valley by way of Emigration Canyon. The trail to Salt Lake City followed in large measure, the trail of the Donner Party and the Mormon Pioneers.

From Salt Lake City, they rode south, pretty much along our modern State Street to the area of the Utah State Prison, then crossed the Jordan River and angled south and west to the town of Fairfield and Camp Floyd, a site steeped in history. The route then led south and mostly west past Simpson Springs, Fish Springs, Willow Springs, and across the northern end of the Deep Creek Mountains to the present-day village of Ibapah. There the riders left what is now the state of Utah, and continued west across present-day Nevada.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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List of Stations

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Canyon Station (*)

Canyon Station is also known as Burnt Station, as two apparent attempts at a Pony Express station in Overland Canyon were destroyed by fire. The first was built in the mouth of Blood Canyon near available water, and seems to have been rather short-lived. The second Canyon Station was located just west of the CCC monument which is visible across a deep wash west of the road. The station is said to have consisted of a log house with adjoining stable, and a dugout where meals were cooked and served. Five express employees and two soldiers were killed when Canyon Station was Burnt in July of 1863. Looking on west across Clifton Flat, you will see a two-track which is probably the remnant of the old stagecoach and pony express road. Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Round Station

This stabilized fortification, known in modern times as Round Station, was built in 1863 to serve the Overland Stage. It was probably the third incarnation of Canyon Station, the first two having been burned by Indians. The ruin at Round Station is that of a structure probably used for defense, and the foundation of the station is visible to the south and east across the parking lot. The interpretation is the product of a cooperative agreement among the BLM, National Park Service, and the Utah Division of the National Pony Express Association.

Of the canyon ahead, now called Overland Canyon, Burton observed:

"Nothing, certainly, could be better fitted for an ambuscade than this gorge, with its caves and holes in snow cuts, earth-drops, and lines of strata, like walls of rudely piled stone; in one place we saw the ashes of an Indian encampment; in another a whirlwind, curling, as smoke would rise, from behind a projecting spur, made us advance with the greatest caution."

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Boyd Station (*)

Boyd Station, or Boyd’s, may also have been known as Butte or Desert Station. It does not appear on the 1861 mail contract, but Burton describes a stop here, and Egan mentioned it as a Pony Express station. It was built by and named for station keeper George Washington Boyd in about 1855. George W. died in Salt Lake City in 1903. “Bid” Boyd, a relative of George, lived at the station until around the turn of the century. According to local resident and Pony Express historian David Bagley, he didn’t do much but hang out there and enjoy the solitude.

In Saddles and Spurs, the Settles say that Boyd Station was a log structure, but the stabilized ruins are of stone, in agreement with most other accounts. James Sharp says it was a one-room stone cabin which had gun ports on all four sides. There was apparently a small spring of very brackish water near Boyd Station. A well was dug to try to improve the water supply, but all that was found was brine so strong they used it to cure meat, according to Sharp. A poison spring was found a distance to the north, marked by numerous bones of dead animals.

The stabilized ruin at Boyd’s, on BLM-administered land, is one of the best preserved of the Pony Express stations in western Utah.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Fishsprings

Fish Springs was the 21st contract station in Utah. Sharp mentions it as a home station. The area, named for the numerous small fish found in the abundant warm springs, has been an important oasis in the Great Basin desert since prehistoric times. Although the CCC monument was built adjacent to the road, the station stood a distance to the east, near the present-day camp ground. The best estimate places the old station just south and west of the big trees visible to the east, near what is called the House Spring. Simpson described a thatch-roofed shed on the site in 1859, but extensive development and activity at Fish Springs since the days of the Pony have rendered difficult any accurate interpretation of the its early appearance.

Today, station site and the surrounding area are a part of Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Refuge, established in 1959, covers almost 18,000 acres, including approximately 10,000 acres of marsh land. It serves as an important stop on the migration routes of thousands of birds from dozens of species, as well as a prime location for a variety of fields of wildlife research.

When Burton and company arrived here late at night, “…the strong ate supper and the weak went to bed, thus ending a somewhat fatiguing day.”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Blackrock

Blackrock was also known as Butte, or Desert Station. It was named for the black basalt outcropping just to the north of the road and the CCC monument. Sharp says it was also known as Rock House. Little is known about Blackrock station, or its usage. A structure of native black stone was apparently built here in 1861, while other structures in the area are suggested. At Blackrock, as at many sites in Pony Express history, we have more questions than answers.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Dugway

Dugway Station, also known as Shortcut Pass, is located east of Dugway Pass, which connects the Dugway mountain range to the north and the Thomas range on the south. The station was located about a mile south of the modern road, about eight and a quarter miles west of Riverbed. Burton says that the station was simply a dugout roofed over with split cedar logs, with a rude adobe chimney. Three wells were attempted, the deepest being dug to a depth of more than 150 feet. All were dry, and water had to be hauled from Simpson or Riverbed. Greeley, passing by in 1860, describes Dugway as “…about the forlornest spot I ever saw.”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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River Bed

About eight miles west of Simpson Springs, the road drops into the old bed of the Sevier River and the site of Riverbed Station. It was built near the end of the Pony Express era, and is not mentioned in the mail contracts or schedules. Substantial structures were found here to serve the stagecoach line, however.

Look out across the desert landscape and imagine the following, recorded by Howard R. Egan:

"When we arrived at Simpson Springs the pony rider told us we could not cross the river bed until the road was repaired, as there had been a big flood that had torn the whole bottom out: road and all. The rider on the previous trip, going west, as he started down the bank, heard a sound like a very heavy wind among the trees. He stopped to listen; the sound was coming from the east and increasing rapidly. He put spurs to the pony and, just as he made the opposite side of the bed, he could see a wall of water, brush and other debris, twelve or fifteen feet high, spread from bank to bank, rolling down the bed at race horse speed. If he had been one-fourth of the distance back across the bed, when he first saw the flood, he could not have escaped with his life."

Back in the day, it was said that the company had difficulty retaining a station keeper at Riverbed, as the area was said to be haunted by “desert fairies.” David and Susan Jabusch did an archeological survey of the site in the early 1990’s. They noted, “During our overnight sojourn, while mapping the site, we were not visited.”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Simpson Springs (*)

Simpson Springs Station bears the name of explorer Captain J. H. Simpson who stopped here in 1858 while searching for the overland mail route between Salt Lake City and California. It was one of the most dependable watering points in this desert region. Captain Simpson first named the spring "Pleasant Spring" because of the good water. He later renamed the spring "Simpson Springs" because of the spring's significance as the "last stop for water" for travelers heading west.

Even before the days of the Pony Express, freighting companies used the springs as a watering stop. George Chorpenning established a mail station at this site in 1858.

The water at Simpson Springs became a necessity for the Pony Express from 1860-1861 and for the Overland Stage from 1861 to 1869. At the turn of the century, the spring was still being used by freighters hauling supplies from mining towns around Gold Hill to western Utah. It is still a key watering location for livestock.

Horace Greeley got this story from the station keeper:

"Some few days previously to our arrival, he ascertained that his oxen, eight in number, had gone off, two or three nights before, taking a southerly course; so he mounted a horse and followed their trail. He rode upon it one hundred miles without reaching water or overtaking the cattle, which had lain down but once since they started, and were still a day’s journey ahead of him. …so he turned about and left his oxen to die in the desert or to be found and eaten by savages."

Burton also passed this way, and left with a story to tell:

"We are now in a country dangerous to stock. It is a kind of central point, where Pavant , Gosh-Yuta (popularly called Gosh Ute), and Panak (Bannacks) meet. Watches, therefore, were told off for the night. Next morning, however, it was found that all had stood guard with unloaded guns."

A number of structures have been built and destroyed in the vicinity of Simpson Springs over the years. It is not known for sure which served as a station for both the mail route and the Pony Express. There is a restored structure (reconstructed in 1974 by the FFA) located on a building site which dates to the period (1860) and closely resembles the original. The site, nature and use of the old buildings were determined by archaeological investigation.

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Government Creek

About eight and a quarter miles from Lookout we cross Government Creek. Although a telegraph relay station, operated by David E. “Pegleg” Davis, was located here in late 1861, the existence of a Pony Express relay station is a matter of debate. No contract or mail company schedule mentions a station at Government Creek. But the distance and topography between Simpson and Lookout would make this a logical location for a change of ponies, and it is speculated that the telegraph station may have been placed there because of buildings already standing.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Point Lookout (*)

Above a flat on the west side of Lookout Pass (General Johnston’s Pass in the days of the Pony Express) we find the marker for the location of the station also known as Point Lookout. A rock alignment and the trace of the old road can be seen between the stone monument and a dam built to catch water from a small spring.

An employee of Howard Egan stated that Egan built a station here in April of 1860, but that the station was in ruins by the following September. Sharp describes the station as a small two-room log house. Burton, in September of 1860, mentions halting near “the ruins of an old station.” How it fell so quickly into ruin is not explained.

A few years later, Horace Rockwell, brother of Orrin Porter Rockwell, and his wife Libby lived in a small log house at Lookout. They had no children, and Aunt Libby, as she was called, kept several dogs upon which she doted. The stone enclosure a short distance to the south was built to protect the cemetery where her beloved dogs are buried. Three emigrant graves are also said to be found within.

An entertaining story is told of a time when one of Aunt Libby’s beloved dogs was sick. She sent to Tooele, about 40 miles away, for the nearest doctor. She sent the message that one of the ranch hands was critically ill, knowing that old Doctor Dodds would never make the trip to treat a dog. When he arrived, late at night, he was nearly apoplectic to find he had rushed out there for a sick dog. Aunt Libby just smiled and gave him a $20 gold piece, and everyone was happy.

Sir Richard Burton expressed his enthusiasm for the country to the west, and for the journey across it:

"Standing upon the edge of the bench, I could see the Tophet in prospect for us till Carson Valley…. All was desert: the bottom could no longer be called basin or valley: it was a thin fine silt, thirsty dust in the dry season, and putty-like mud in the spring and autumnal rains. The hair of this unlovely skin was sage and greasewood: it was warted with sand-heaps; in places mottled with bald and horrid patches of salt soil, while in others minute crystals of salt, glistening like diamond-dust in the sunlight, covered tracks of moist and oozy mud. "
Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Rush Valley

Rush Valley Station was also known Meadow Creek Station, and, erroneously, as Bush Valley. Today, it is commonly called Faust’s Station, but James Sharp says it never bore that name in the old days. It was the first home station west of Salt Lake City for the Pony riders. The station was a large log structure with a low, pitched roof, located in the meadow approximately three quarters of a mile south of the site of the stone monument. The site is on private property owned by Tooele City.

Henry Jacob Faust was born in Germany and emigrated to the U.S. at an early age, probably around 1841. He attended medical school, but dropped out to hunt for gold in California. Faust was station keeper here, and raised horses for the Express and the Army. When the Pony Express began operating, Faust was put in charge of the station on the west side of Rush Valley. He was probably already there as an employee of George Chorpenning who had the mail contract before Russell, Majors, and Waddell. The following is an excerpt from a chapter in History of Tooele County Volume II, which was written by Ouida Blanthorn:

“By using his skills and medical knowledge for the benefit of the Indians, Henry became known as “Doc” Faust, and the station as Faust Station, rather than Rush Valley Station. He homesteaded 160 acres of meadowland and established a fine ranch, bringing in thoroughbred stock from Canada. This ranch was later sold to Orrin Porter Rockwell, ... Within the confines of (what was then) the Meredith Sod Farm the C.C.C. erected a monument in 1935; but when this monument on the Faust Ranch was destroyed, a new one was dedicated July 4, 1970 by the S.U.P. (Sons of Utah Pioneers)....”

Burton describes Doc Faust as “a civil and communicative man, who added a knowledge of books and drugs to the local history….”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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East Rush Valley

The stone monument out on the flat marks the location of East Rush Valley, or Pass Station. Located about 10 miles from Fairfield and Camp Floyd, not much is known about the structure which was here or its use. It was not listed as a Pony Express contract station.

This monument at the site is typical of those found at the location of Pony Express Stations all across western Utah. The monuments were constructed in the late 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The workers were stationed at a CCC camp at Simpson Springs, and left a legacy of monuments, trails, and other improvements around the region. Each monument featured two bronze plaques. One was a circular Pony Express Rider plaque, sculpted by A. Phimster Proctor. The other was rectangular, and gave information describing the nearby station. The plaques were provided by the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association. Most of the bronze plaques have been stolen, but in recent years the Utah Division of the National Pony Express Association has been working with the Bureau of Land Management to maintain these markers and to replace the round horse-and-rider plaques.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Camp Floyd

In 1857, President James Buchanan sent an army of U.S. troops under Albert Sidney Johnston to quell a purported uprising in Utah. When the “Mormon War” was settled in 1858 without a battle, Johnston and his army of 3000 Union soldiers built Camp Floyd, named for Secretary of War John B. Floyd. The pastoral village of Fairfield soon became a raucous town of 7000, including 17 saloons, the third largest city in Utah. Then the Civil War broke out and in early summer of 1861, the army, now under Col. Phillip St. George Cooke, was recalled to the United States.

John Carson built his two story home in Fairfield in 1855. The Carson Inn, the building now known as the Stagecoach Inn, served as an Inn and a station for the Overland Stage. Today it is the centerpiece of Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park. The Pony Express Station was a small adobe building about a block northeast of the Inn.

For soldiers marooned in this desert spot, knowing that civil war seemed eminent, news from the east was eagerly awaited. On “Pony Day,” the day when the pony express mail was to arrive, a lookout was stationed on the roof of one of the camp buildings to raise a cry when the pony rider came in sight.

In 1858 James Hervey Simpson was a Captain in the Army Corp of Topographical Engineers. When President Buchanan ordered the Army to send troops to Utah to put down “The Mormon Rebellion,” Simpson was attached to the command of Brigadier General Johnston and sent to Camp Floyd. Soon after arriving here he was assigned to make a preliminary reconnaissance into the desert to the west in an effort to find a central route to California. Prior to this time, anyone heading west from Salt Lake City had to go around the north end of the Great Salt Lake and down the Humboldt River, or follow the Mormon Corridor and the Old Spanish Trail to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In October of 1858 Simpson, with a small expedition of about 40 men and 5 army wagons left Camp Floyd and headed west. After going about 70 miles, winter weather started closing in and they returned to Camp Floyd. Simpson was optimistic about what he had seen and the following May, he started out again, this time to go all the way to Genoa, just south of Carson City, Nevada, and then to return by another route. This was the opening of the Central Overland Wagon Road. A few emigrants started using it right away and the following year its route was adopted by the Overland Stage and the Pony Express.

A grove of trees can be seen about a quarter of a mile south of SR 73. This is the cemetery where soldiers and other residents of Camp Floyd were buried. It is well maintained, and every Memorial Day weekend a number of folks bring their motor homes and camp trailers and spend a couple days, and hold a military-type memorial service. Local American Legion posts and Civil War re-enactment groups also take an active part.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.


All that remains are the commissary building, where the museum is now, and the cemetery.

The Stagecoach Inn was built in 1858 across the street from the commissary and served as a Pony Express stop. The inn was restored in 1959.

The museum is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Day-use facilities include picnic tables with drinking water, restrooms, barbecue grills, fire pits and covered pavilions.

For more information: Click Here or call 801-768-8932.

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Rockwell's

The west-bound pony rider proceeded south along today’s State Street to the next station which was located just south of the Utah State Prison. This was at Porter Rockwell’s Hot Springs Brewery Hotel. The hotel and brewery made this a popular stopping point for travelers. A large adobe barn stood at the site well in to the previous century. A stone monument, largely vandalized of plaques, can be found at the south-east corner of the prison compound.

Orrin Porter Rockwell was one of the most colorful characters on the Mormon frontier. He became a close friend and adherent of Joseph Smith while still in his teens, and served as bodyguard for both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. In Utah, Rockwell served as a territorial lawman, with a reputation for relentless pursuit, and swift and final justice. Whether he was in fact a loyal defender of his Church and its leaders, or a cold blooded murderous villain, Porter is said to have asserted that he “never killed a man who didn’t need killing.” Photographs and drawings of Porter Rockwell show him with long, flowing hair and beard. It is said that Joseph Smith promised him that as long as he never cut his hair, a bullet would not take his life. Indeed, Porter died of heart failure in 1878, at age 65.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Traveller's Rest

Just north of 7200 South street, on the west side of State Street, stood Travelers’ Rest, or Traders’ Rest, the first pony express station out of Salt Lake City. This station was probably used only for a short time, and no evidence of its existence can be found at the site. The location is marked by a granite marker placed by the Pony Express Trail Association.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Salt Lake House

The Salt Lake House was a home station for Pony Express riders. The Salt Lake House was a hotel located at about 150 S. Main Street, the location of the old Tribune Building. It was a long, two-story structure with a veranda in front and a large livestock yard in the rear. According to Sir Richard Burton, “…upstairs we found a Gentile ballroom, a tolerably furnished sitting-room, and bed chambers….” After traveling almost three weeks by stage coach, he says “I had not seen aught so grand for many a day.” A granite monument with bronze plaques marks the location today.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Mountain Dell

The contract lists the seventh Utah station as being in “Mountain Dale.” It was also called Big Canyon Creek, and often, Hanks Station for Ephraim Hanks who managed the place. This is another station the exact location of which has been much debated. It stood a distance up the slope from Little Dell Reservoir, but neither study of contemporary accounts nor an extensive archeological dig conducted by researchers from Brigham Young University has answered the question of the actual station site.

Utah artist Danquart Weggeland’s painting of Hanks Station appears to show a small log house with an “L” shaped barn. An old stone house in the area, known as the Armstrong House, has often been called the Pony station, but it was not built until the 1870’s.

Station keeper Ephraim Hanks was a colorful character on the Mormon frontier. It was widely rumored that he was a leading figure among a group of Mormon “hit-men” called the Danites, or Destroying Angels. Again we quote Sir Richard:

"I had often heard of this individual, as one of the old triumvirate of Mormon desperadoes, the other two being Orrin Porter Rockwell and Bill Hickman – as the leader of the dreaded Danite band, and in short, as a model ruffian…. The “vile villain,” as he has been called by anti-Mormon writers, … was a middle-sized, light-haired, good looking man, with regular features, a pleasant smile and humorous countenance, and the manly manner of his early sailor life, touched with the rough cordiality of the mountaineer “Frank as a bear hunter,” is a proverb in these lands."

Mark Twain was not so favorably impressed. His description, as quoted from Jabusch, follows:

"I had heard a deal about these Mormon Destroying Angels and the dark and bloody deeds they had done, and when I entered one’s house I had my shudder all ready. But alas for all our romances, he (Ephe Hanks) was nothing but a loud, profane, offensive old blackguard! He was murderous enough, possibly, to fill the bill of a destroyer, but would you have any kind of angel devoid of dignity? Could you abide an angel in an unclean shirt and no suspenders? Could you respect an angel with a horselaugh and a swagger like a buccaneer?"
Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Bauchmann's Station

Bauchmann’s Station on East Canyon Creek, was a stop for both the Pony Express and the stagecoach. It was the sixth contract station in Utah. The station was also known as East Canyon and Carson House Station, or sometimes as Dutchman’s Flat by riders who could not remember the name of the German, Bauchmann.

The station was a one-room cabin built of squared logs. As we see it today, the building has been extensively remodeled to make an attractive and comfortable summer cabin. It has been moved about one hundred yards southwest from its original location. The station and site are owned by the Clayton-Macfarlane Ranch.

Burton’s party stopped for the night at “the ‘Carson House Station’ at Bauchmin’s Fork.” Although his stay was not unpleasant, his sleep was somewhat disturbed by a skunk which prowled the grounds at night and threatened to enter the cabin. “And why, naturally asks the reader, did you not shut the door? Because there was none.”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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East Canyon

This station in Dixie Hollow was also commonly known as Dixie Creek and East Canyon. The name listed in the contract was Wheaton Springs. The exact location has been a matter of considerable debate. Joe Nardone agrees with Mormon Trail authority Lamar Barrett that the station sat directly in the mouth of the draw, at a site marked by a pile of rocks. David and Susan Jabusch found no artifacts of any type during their initial and thorough survey. According to members of the Bertagnole family, who have been on the land for generations, the right location is a short distance to the south where a catch basin for watering livestock and a small grove of trees are found today. Construction of the small reservoir obliterated any evidence of a station at that spot. The U.S. Geological Survey, after consultation with prominent Utah historians, placed Dixie Station at the Bertagnole site.

From Burton’s colorful narrative, in this area late in the day: “… even the artemisia [we just call it sage brush] put on airs of bloom and beauty, blushing in contrast with the sharp metallic green of the quaking-asp and the duller verdure of the elder….”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Weber Station

Weber Station, like most others, was known by a variety of names, including Bromley’s, Pulpit Rock, Hanging Rock, and Echo. It was Utah’s fourth contract station. The appearance of the station and its actual location have been the subject of much debate. Old photographs are available, but as David Jabusch notes, “Interpretation of these old photographs is more an art than the science one might suppose.” By the time of the Pony Express, a small village existed here, and it is difficult to determine which of the photographed structures might have served as the station. Modern developments including the building of the railroad, U.S. Highway 30, and later, the Interstate freeways have destroyed much of the original topography, including The Obelisks and Pulpit Rock, making futile any appeal to archeology.

James Bromley settled here in 1854. He was later hired by Russell, Majors, and Waddell as division superintendent for the section of the line between Pacific Springs and Salt Lake City, and his ranch at Weber became the Pony Express and Stage station. He is quoted: “I was put in charge of the road: I bought mules, built stations, fought Indians, and did everything that came in the line of my duty… In 1860, the Pony Express was put on. I bought horses in Salt Lake, to stock the line to Fort Laramie, and hired many of Utah’s young men to ride them. Nobly and well did they do their work.”

Passing through in 1859, Greeley found “Two ‘groceries,’ a blacksmith’s shop, and a mail station” at the location. Burton also describes the location, saying, “…we debauched upon Weber River Station. It lies at the mouth of the ravine almost under the shadow of the lofty red bluffs, called ‘The Obelisks,’ and the green and sunny landscape contrasting with the sterile grandeur behind, is exceedingly pleasing…. The station was tolerably comfortable, and the welcome addition of potatoes and onions to our fare was not to be despised.”

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Halfway

About half way down Echo Canyon was the appropriately named Halfway Station. The third contract station in Utah, it was also called Emory, Daniels, or sometimes Hanging Rock. An undated photograph published in Fike and Headley’s 1979 monograph, and labeled as “Government Creek Telegraph Station,” was ascertained by Jabusch and Nardone to actually depict Halfway Station. The photo shows an old log cabin with a covered entry, and a newer structure of sawn lumber.

Fike and Headley tell an unresearched story that, in the early days of the Pony, rustlers in the area would steal the express horses, then later sell them back to the company. When the horses began to be branded with the XP (Express) brand, the rustling ended.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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Head of Echo Canyon

The station at the head of Echo Canyon was also known as Frenchies and Castle Rock. It was a contract station on the Pony Express and Stage route. Jabusch believes that the station originally stood in the abandoned town called Castle Rock, which was located about a mile and a half down the canyon from the present junk yard site known as Castle Rock. The structure was apparently built of logs, and after being sold to a French trapper in 1867, was moved up to the canyon to the junk yard site, owned in recent years by the late Curtis Moore.

Traveler and author Horace Greeley did not enjoy the ride through Echo Canyon. His description:

"The canyon reminded me afresh that evil and good are strongly interwoven in our earthly lot. Throughout the desolate region which stretches from the Sweetwater River nearly or quite to Bridger, we had in the main the best natural road I ever traveled…. But in this fairly-grassed ravine, hemmed in by steep, picturesque bluffs… we found the ‘going decidedly bad,’ and realized that in the dark it could not be but dangerous."

Burton, who often found little to praise on the western frontier, seemed to be fascinated with the “picturesque bluffs.” Despite a team of unbroken and rather fractious mules he wrote,

"A whole Petra was there, a system of projecting prisms, pyramids, and pagoda towers, a variety of form that enabled you to see whatever your peculiar vanity might be; columns, porticoes, facades and pedestals. Twin lines of bluffs, a succession of buttresses all fretted and honey-combed, a double row of steeples slipped from perpendicularity, frowned at each other across the gorge. And the wondrous variety was yet more varied by the kaleidoscopic transformation caused by change of position: at every different point the same object bore a different aspect.

"Echo Canyon has but one fault: its sublimity will make all other similar features look tame.”

Back to the southeast, and unfortunately on private land, one finds the well-known trail landmark called Cache Cave. The cave was a popular camping spot on the emigrant trail, and, high up on the cave walls where livestock cannot rub, the names of many Mormon Pioneers can still be seen.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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The Needles

The station at Needle Rocks, also known as The Needles, is just on the Utah side of the border with Wyoming. It lies on Yellow Creek, almost 10 miles south of the town of Evanston. Little is known of the station, as none of the contemporary writers left a description. The station is named for a rock formation described by British explorer Sir Richard Burton as “…a huge Stonehenge, a crown of broken and somewhat lanceolate perpendicular conglomerates or cemented pudding stones called not inappropriately Needle Rocks.”

Two stone foundations remain at the location of the station. The site is on private land.

Information provided by Patrick Hearty, NPEA Utah, 2005.

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