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Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Apacheria

Picture of Fort Douglas Military Museum
Fort Douglas Military Museum
Fort Douglas Military Museum
32 Potter Street
Fort Douglas, UT  84113
Phone: 801-581-1251
History

In the midst of the Civil War, Colonel Patrick Edward Connor and the California-Nevada Volunteers were ordered to the Utah Territory for the purpose of guarding the Overland Mail Route; they arrived in October of 1862.  Concerned about secessionist activities in the area, Colonel Connor chose a location that allowed him to keep an eye on the Mormons.  The Post was originally called Camp Douglas, in honor of the recently deceased Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas who had been an ally of the West.  The regiment established a garrison, gained military supremacy over the indigenous cultures, and began successful prospecting for mineral wealth in the surrounding mountains.

By the late 1860s, the mutual distrust between the Army and the Mormons gave way to wary accommodation.  The Mormons remained loyal to the Union and the Army’s presence provided Salt Lake City with a much-needed infusion of money.  By 1866, the California-Nevada Volunteers had all been discharged and replaced by army regulars from the 18th Infantry. 

Camp Douglas became increasingly important in the western military establishment as a  supply center for the fast moving cavalry during the 1870s.  As a result, in 1878, Camp Douglas became Fort Douglas.  Toward the end of the century, the Indian Wars ended, but conflict with Spain increased.  In 1901, Fort Douglas was upgraded to Regimental Headquarters where troops were trained for service elsewhere. 

During the two World Wars, the Post served as a mobilization and training garrison, as well as a prisoner of war camp.  In 1940, Fort Douglas was comprised of three separate bases: the Fort, Salt LakeAirbase, and Wendover Bombing and Gunnery Range.  In fact, the 7th Bomb Group, the unit that flew into Pearl Harbor the morning it was bombed, had been training at and left from Fort Douglas.  During the Second World War, Fort Douglas served as the headquarters for the Ninth Service Command and as a reception and separation center.  In the years since World War II, Fort Douglas has served as headquarters for Reserve and National Guard units and as a support detachment for military activities in the area.  The historic area of Fort Douglas was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

Communities and Related Links
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Convention and Visitors Bureau
Fort Douglas Web Site

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