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Bingham Fort Gains Historic Status

Tue, Apr 20, 2004


Standard-Examiner staff

 OGDEN -- The oldest working farm in Weber County has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, marking a major step to preserve both it and the historic site of Bingham's Fort.

The designation for the Stone Farm was approved last week by the Board of State History for Utah. J. Cory Jensen, national register coordinator for the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, told the Associated Press last week the vote was unanimous. A residential historic district in Cedar City was also approved for addition to the list.

Stone Farm is a 40-acre plot located south of Second Street and west of Wall Avenue in Ogden. Originally larger, it was founded in 1851 as part of the original Mormon settlement in the Ogden area, first called Lynne. In 1853, with Indian troubles brewing, LDS leader Brigham Young told the settlers to "fort up," and the residents of the area, led by Erastus Bingham, built a fort.


Erastus Bingham Fort Site

The fort was later abandoned, then resettled as Ogden grew. The area remained an agricultural backwater in Weber County despite rapid residential growth in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly because of Defense Depot Ogden.

The federal government bought huge tracts of land west of the railroad tracks running north-south through the area before World War II and built Defense Depot Ogden, cutting off through-traffic on Second Street and discouraging development.

When DDO was given to Ogden and turned into a public business park, that protection disappeared. In 1995, there were still four surviving pioneer-era farms on Second Street, and now three of those are gone, sold for subdivisions.

Descendants of one of those farms, the Stone Farm, have been trying for several years to get the farm on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation doesn't bring any money or protection from property taxes, but it does give the area recognition that could be helpful in future preservation work.

Nothing of Bingham's Fort remains. Sections of the wall foundation around it have been dug up, especially during rebuilding of Second Street within the last five years. Residents are working to preserve its location as a part of history. Ogden has a walking tour brochure of the area available.

The Stone Farm is still worked, used for raising chickens, selling eggs and raising grains, but the family is hoping to sell development rights for it to the state to preserve it.

Anna Keogh, 301 W. Second St., said Monday she was ecstatic at the news.

"I would think this will help us in getting the conservation easement," she said. "I hope this will help get the funds we need to preserve the land, put it in a land trust."

Eventually she envisions it being an educational outdoor museum sort of place, she said. Only one building on the farm dates back to the pioneer days, but many more date back to the turn of the last century.

It is, she said, the only site in Weber County that still dates to the pioneer era. All the rest have been developed over.

There are also a number of other historic homes in the area, she said. She will be encouraging the owners of those to also apply for listing on the Historic Register.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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