Non-Historic Fort Structure Demolition

For more than a decade, the wooden fort structure located on Geneva Road and 200 North has been closed due to vandalism, structural concerns and because the site does not meet contemporary play area safety standards. The logs have become increasingly rotted and efforts to shore-up what is left are now insufficient to keep it standing.  The towers are leaning, inaccessible by the public and in danger of collapse. It is time to take these structures down. *You can see examples of the hazards in the pictures below.

Fort Utah 1 Fort Utah Park Fort Utah

The log fencing and bastion towers were intended as a play area rather than an accurate re-creation of the original Fort Utah. In fact, the site has very little in common with the original Fort Utah. The fencing and towers were representative of forts that were built along the Great Plains and not of the original fort built by the settlers of Provo. A historical marker located along the Provo River Trail about a mile to the west indicates the actual location of the original Fort Utah. After the original fort was abandoned, a second fort was constructed near the site of the Pioneer Village and Museum at North Park.

The great news is that residents and visitors of Provo can witness a much more historically correct representation of early Provo by visiting the Provo Pioneer Village and Museum located at North Park (500 West 600 North). Cabins similar to those in the original fort have been placed there along with tools and other historically accurate items of the era. These historical services are provided and managed by the Sons and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

Removal of these hazards will eliminate some very serious safety concerns, allow more space for other park uses and improve parking and safety. Work will commence on this project during the winter months. I’ll post more details and pictures on my blog during the demolition, so stay tuned for more details.

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  1. Beverly

    Will it just be turned into grass? Or is there a “play structure” in the plans? My teenage daughter things you should make a durable “play fort” that is historically accurate in its size and shape but made up of playground grade plastic materials. 🙂

    1. Brittney

      Very good idea I was just going to ask this.

  2. Linda Sheldon

    From what I understand from Robert Carter the Provo historian an our board at Provo Pioneer Village this park isn’t where Fort Utah actually was. Fort Utah was the first settlement of white settlers in Provo. This park only exists because someone donated some land and wanted it to be called that. I’m not sure if that is why, but Bro. Carter does say that that isn’t actually the site of the fort. What instead needs to be done is make where the fort was better accessible and some kind of monument or something put up commemorating it. There may be a monument, but I have never been able to find the location of the fort/ settlement to find out.

    1. Carol McGill

      Unfortunately, as near as I can tell from reading historical documents and looking at maps of early Provo, I-15 was built over the original fort’s site, rendering it inaccessible. While historically inaccurate, the park and fort replica are among the most visible reminders of Fort Utah’s existence. I understand the safety concerns, but I will be sad to see the fort replica go. I would love to see a more enduring, publicly visible memorial set up.

      1. Melissa

        Do you have a source for that location? I’m doing a project on the fort, and am trying to find original records that indicate the site. Thanks!

  3. Jeff Blake

    Can I have the wood? We’re making a Porter Rockwell movie this summer and I would love it for set design! 🙂

    1. John

      Unfortunately all of the wood have become increasingly rotted and are covered in guano.

      1. Jeff Blake

        We’re okay with that! But if it’s a liability or whatever, we understand. Everything we would be doing with it would be aesthetic. Not structural.

  4. Megan Palfreyman

    When will the demolition be happening? I know my kids would love to come watch if possible, we have spent a lot of time at that park.

    1. John

      Megan – Contact our Parks Dept. I bet you can call 311 and one of the Customer Service Reps can direct you.

      Thanks for reading.

      -John

  5. Chris

    While the fort structure has been an eye-sore, there needs to be some kind of fort at the park. I agree with Beverly’s daughter that a “play fort” needs to be made. There are many times when the playground equipment is very busy, so additional playground would be nice. There could be shorter “walls”, maybe a “tower” or two with slides. Some shade over some of the equipment would make it more usable during the heat. I’m thinking of the park in Spanish Fork, near the Costco. Sections of the “fort” could be made of various playground equipment, with access to other parts of the fort via bridges, webs, steps, and other methods kids can use to traverse the fort.

    My only reservation is that there shouldn’t be any new or additional tax or bond burden placed on the citizens.

    The canon could be on the ground. Personally I think it was a silly idea to essentially put it on stilts.

    There could be a “memorial” that references the marker on the Provo River Trail (where the original fort supposedly was).

  6. Dan

    I totally agree with this. But as Beverly basically said, if this is going to be turned into an empty parking lot with nothing put in its place, then I don’t understand the purpose of this. They should build something nice in its place.

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