Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Visiting Camp Floyd State Park

 Commissary Museum at Camp Floyd State Park

Nothing really remains of the old Camp Floyd.  However, this small state park in Fairfield, Utah, is worth a visit.  Camp Floyd was built about 1858, and was occupied until the soldiers there were recalled to fight in the Civil War in 1861.  President James Buchanan sent over 3000 soldiers to Utah to suppress a rumored rebellion, now referred to as the Utah war.  Camp Floyd was built in the aftermath, partly so the soldiers could keep an eye on the Mormons.  The result was an army encampment that made the population of Fairfield swell (it was temporarily the third largest city in the state).

Area where Camp Floyd once stood --cemetery is south of here.

Today, the only things that remain from the original camp are the Commissary building (now the museum), and the Camp Floyd cemetery.  The cemetery is undergoing a bit of a remodel.  Research indicates there were more headstones than people buried at the cemetery, so a project is underway to remove all old, inaccurate headstones, and place the correct number of  headstones in the cemetery.  Since there are no records indicating who was buried where, the headstones will not have names on them.  A plaque will be installed to list those who are known to be buried there.  (A fire obliterated the original wooden headstones).

Bullets are some of the artifacts on display.

The museum has a lot of information in a small space.  We watched a 10-minute DVD segment about the history of the Utah war and Camp Floyd (including interesting tidbits like the fact that the Mormons burned Ft. Bridger).  Then we wandered through the exhibits.  There are old photos on the display, and informational signs.  Display cases contain artifacts excavated at the site of the old Camp Floyd.  There are bullet casings, a bone toothbrush, dishes, coins, and more.

Opening exhibit at the Camp Floyd museum

Photo at the museum indicated Fairfield had 17 saloons at one time, and was known as Frogtown.

The displays are designed to give you a feel for camp life and they detail activities, living conditions, and more about the lives of the soldiers stationed here.  Some local areas are named after the soldiers who explored in their free time, including Simpson Springs and Soldier Hollow.  There is a model at the museum showing the layout of the original camp.  Several of the soldiers stationed at Camp Floyd went on to become Civil War generals.  One of these includes Albert Sidney Johnston (of "Johnston's Army" fame).

Detail from a display listing Civil War notables who served at Camp Floyd.

Civil War display at Camp Floyd.

Park employees are helpful in answering any questions.  After your visit to the Commissary museum, they will direct you across the street to the Stagecoach Inn (a personal favorite!).  There is a small gift shop at the front of the museum that has Civil war themed items, books, and a few snacks.

Children and teens of Scout age (boys or girls) can earn a patch while they are visiting Camp Floyd by filling out a few pages in a little workbook.  The answers are found in the museum and nearby Stagecoach Inn.  The patches are available at a minimal cost.  There is also a geocache site at Camp Floyd.  A pavilion and park area west of the Stagecoach Inn offers a shady spot for a gathering or picnic lunch.  For details on Camp Floyd State Park, driving directions, and the various activities offered throughout the year, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Looks totally interesting. I'll have to make it out there once when the museum is open.