Snippets of history from Carl Mellor's Army Trek tour:
The terminal for the mid-Jordan Trax line, along the Old Bingham Highway near Bingham Creek at about 6200 West, is where Johnston's Army made its second camp in the Salt Lake Valley.
One story of how Redwood Road got its name is that as the Army moved through the valley, advance scouts used willows from the nearby Jordan River to stick in the ground and mark the path. As those willows died, they turned red. (But there are other stories about the origin of the name, as well, so it may or may not be true.)
The Army had considered Cache Valley for its permanent camp, but its leader, Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, preferred to be closer to Salt Lake, even though he called Cedar Valley "this infernal region â€” it is to me worse than any imagined horrors of a Siberian exile." His soldiers didn't like it any better than he did. One wrote: "Camp Floyd is one of the most miserable, disagreeable and uninteresting places that ever disgraced the earth. It is built upon a dry plain, entirely destitute of grass, or, indeed, any vegetation, except sage, which flourishes where nothing else will grow."
At one time, Porter Rockwell owned 2,000 acres in the south end of the valley, where he operated a brewery, a hotel and a Pony Express and stagecoach station. A monument on the frontage road at the Bluffdale exit off I-15 has a statue of Rockwell overlooking the area where his hotel once stood.
At one time, Rockwell lived at 200 E. South Temple (where the old Makeoff Store stood). At 300 S. State (where the Brighton Bank now stands), the Colorado Stables housed horses for the Pony Express and the stage coach. Rockwell often slept at the stables, and it was there he died in 1878 of a heart attack at age 65. The night before, he had taken his daughter to a play at the old Salt Lake Theater on Firstst South and State. He is buried in the Salt Lake Cemetery.
If you stop on Frontage Road at the very west end of the Alpine highway and look straight west, you will see Indian Ford, a V-shaped ravine reaching into the Jordan River. In pioneer times, you could cross the Jordan River during low water without a bridge or ferry, but the stagecoach companies established a ferry there. The Jordan River is the largest stream the stagecoaches crossed for the next 500 miles.
On Sept. 27, 1872, the first Utah Southern Railway trains came to Lehi. But the $2.25 one-way ticket to Salt Lake was beyond the reach of most residents. When the local Sunday School organized an excursion for the reduced price of 75 cents, about 1,300 people showed up. It required 25 railway coaches to carry them, but the loaded train could not make it over the Point of the Mountain. Passengers had to get off and push the train.
The total cost of the Utah War, or what came to be known as Buchanan's Blunder, was between $20 million and $40 million.
At one time, Fairfield had a population of about 7,000, making it the third-largest city in the Utah Territory.
Johnston left Camp Floyd at the outbreak of the Civil War. The name was changed to Camp Crittenden.
The Stagecoach Inn was built in 1858 by John Carson and was one of the finest establishments along the route. The Overland Stage line ran on the same route as the Pony Express. In those days, passengers were allowed 25 pounds of baggage for the 15- to 17-day ride. The cost was approximately $150 (equivalent to $2,660 in today's dollars). When full, and with riders on top, a stagecoach could carry 19 people. Stops were made every 10 to 12 miles to change horses.
A 400-seat theater at Camp Floyd, called the Temperance Theater, brought in plays, musicals and performers from as far away as San Francisco and New York.
When the Army left Camp Floyd, the government sold the barracks and equipment to the Mormons. Disgruntled soldiers began to burn them rather than turn them over to the "enemy." Rockwell arrived on the scene and said, "Men, if another barracks is torched, not one of you will see Fort Leavenworth again." The burning stopped. And for the next 20 years, the residents of Lehi and surrounding communities had real glass windows and real doorframes and doors in their homes.
Wild Bill Hickman's cabin in Fairfield was purchased for $1, disassembled and reconstructed at This Is The Place Heritage Park.
Among the historic visitors to Camp Floyd were Rockwell, Brigham Young, British explorer Richard Burton, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson and John C. Fremont.
Now a state park, all that remains of Camp Floyd is the commissary, which houses a museum, and the cemetery, where 82 people are buried. (Most died in drunken brawls.) The Stagecoach Inn still stands and has been preserved and restored. It is open from Easter weekend through Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Day-use fees are charged. Special commemorative events are held throughout the year. For information, call 801-768-8932 or visit www.state.parks.utah.gov.