Historic Sites
Learn through history by visiting interesting historic sites around the state of Utah. Historic sites let you put a real face on the history that you've read about, making it more exciting for you and your children.
Historic Sites in Utah
Golden Spike National Historic Site
Completion of the world's first transcontinental railroad was celebrated here where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869. Golden Spike was designated as a national historic site in nonfederal ownership on April 2, 1957, and authorized for federal ownership and administration by an act of Congress on July 30, 1965.
Natural Bridges National Monument
Natural Bridges protects some of the finest examples of ancient stone architecture in the southwest. Located on a tree-covered mesa cut by deep sandstone canyons, three natural bridges formed where meandering streams eroded the canyon walls. The bridges are named Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu. At 6,500 feet above sea level, Natural Bridges is home to a variety of plants and animals. Plants range from the fragile cryptobiotic soil crusts to remnant stands of Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. Natural Bridges was established in 1908, making it the oldest National Park Service site in Utah.
Pipe Spring National Monument
Pipe Spring National Monument, a little known gem of the National Park System, is rich with American Indian, early explorer and Mormon pioneer history. The water of Pipe Spring has made it possible for plants, animals, and people to live in this dry, desert region. Ancestral Puebloans and Kaibab Paiute Indians gathered grass seeds, hunted animals, and raised crops near the springs for at least 1,000 years. In the 1860s Mormon pioneers brought cattle to the area and by 1872 a fort (Winsor Castle) was built over the main spring and a large cattle ranching operation was established. This isolated outpost served as a way station for people traveling across the Arizona Strip, that part of Arizona separated from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon. It also served as a refuge for polygamist wives during the 1880s and 1890s. Although their way of life was greatly impacted, the Paiute Indians continued to live in the area and by 1907 the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation was established, surrounding the privately owned Pipe Spring ranch. In 1923 the Pipe Spring ranch was purchased and set aside as a national monument. Today the Pipe Spring National Monument - Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Visitor Center and Museum explains the human history of the area over time. Daily tours of Winsor Castle, summer "living history" demonstrations, an orchard and garden, and a half-mile trail offer a glimpse of American Indian and pioneer life in the Old West.
Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument in southeastern Utah protects five prehistoric, Puebloan-era villages spread over a twenty-mile expanse of mesa tops and canyons along the Utah-Colorado border. Multi-storied towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders lead visitors to marvel at the skill and motivation of their builders.
Pony Express National Historic Trail
The Pony Express National Historic Trail was used by young men on fast paced horses to carry the nation's mail across the country, from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, in the unprecedented time of only ten days. Organized by private entrepreneurs, the horse-and-rider relay system became the nation's most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph. Though only in operation for 18 months, between April 1860 and October 1861, the trail proved the feasibility of a central overland transportation route, and played a vital role in aligning California with the Union in the years just before the Civil War. Most of the original trail has been obliterated either by time or human activities. Along many segments, the trail's actual route and exact length are matters of conjecture. However, approximately 120 historic sites may eventually be available to the public, including 50 existing Pony Express stations or station ruins.
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