5 East, Highway 191
Bluff, UT 84512
- Historical Site
Upon their arrival in the Bluff valley, irrigation, planting crops and shelter became the paramount concerns of the first pioneer settlers. As soon as a crude irrigation ditch was in and crops were planted, their energy was directed to the construction of adequate shelter so that they might not spend another winter in wagon beds and tents. By early fall of 1880, they were helping one another construct log cabins from the surrounding cottonwood trees. Forty to fifty cabins were initially arranged in close proximity to each other to form an open square. Each cabin’s door and window faced the center. These humble dwellings were their homes until resources and circumstances allowed for something better. It was several decades before they would again have the accommodations to which they had been accustomed. Thus, it was in these humble log cabins that most of the San Juan pioneers raised their families.
Of the forty to fifty log cabins that once formed the fort, the Barton cabin is all that is left. It is now the only tangible reminder of early home life on the San Juan frontier. Its walls have echoed the voices and laughter of the seven Barton children. Under its sod roof, its occupants experienced times of joy and times of great sorrow.
A meetinghouse at the north end of the fort was used as a church, school, courthouse and dance hall. It was the center of all social life. A replica of the Bluff meetinghouse has been constructed as authentically as possible. The meetinghouse is available for meetings, receptions, reunions, etc.
Thanks to the donations of Hole-in-the-Rock descendants, a monument was erected in 2005 in honor of the original pioneers who came through the Hole-in-the Rock. The monument is the centerpiece of the fort site.
Future Plans Future plans include the construction of additional log cabins, a visitor’s center, public conveniences and additional interpretive displays.
The Visitor center is open March 1 - November 1. The site is still accessible to visitors in the off season.