(May 19, 2009) – Last week, volunteers from Fort Douglas Museum, in partnership with Camp Floyd State Park, were racing to finish excavation of a portion of Camp Floyd at Fairfield, Utah, southwest of Salt Lake City. The work ended, as scheduled, on Sunday.
Excavators were concentrating on an area near the northwest corner of the site, which included the enlisted barracks for the Tenth and Seventh Infantry, as well as their associated privies and trash dumps.
The private landowner encouraged the work, which started April 11. Initially, the landowner had planned to develop an RV camp on that portion, but had not ruled out a redesign to preserve the area. Ephriam D. Dickson III, Curator, Fort Douglas Museum, told Military Trader that "The land owner was very generous in allowing us to work on his land and has promised to take our findings into consideration as he plans his RV camp in an effort to avoid impacting the building sites."
Dickson went on to say that he would be on site when the grader begins work in case anything is uncovered during construction.
The area now the focus of attention is only a part of the former camp. At one point, Camp Floyd was the second largest city in Utah. It was established as a military post in July 1858 with 3,500 troops sent there to suppress an expected Mormon rebellion. Troops took exit in July 1861 to fight in the Civil War, reducing the local population from around 7,000 individuals to just 18 families.
Troops did return to Utah the following year but decided not to rebuild on the original site, instead moving to Salt Lake City where they established Camp Douglas.
Little remains of Camp Floyd except for the excavated footprint of the camp, a cemetery, and the commissary building.
Dr. Dale Berge of Brigham Young University began excavations at the site in 1982 using students from his annual Field School. From 1982 to 1993, they found the remains of nine structures, including enlisted barracks and the mess house of the Tenth Infantry, an officer’s quarters, camp headquarters, stable, ordnance workshop and two sutler’s stores.
In the most recent excavations, workers have found wall sections of adobe bricks stacked three high, and a long stone porch. Most exciting has been the discovery of round adobe structures that would have been top-mounted with Sibley Tents. The round barracks were later replaced by a more traditional rectangular adobe building.
For more information: www.fortdouglas.org
[National Park Service Photos]
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