Camp Floyd Pony Express Station

The interval of time that this Pony Express station operated coincided with an economic boom in the late 1850s. The fast-paced town was a stopover for Pony Express riders and celebrities.

Camp Floyd, also called Fairfield Station, was located between Joe’s Dugout Station and East Rush Valley Station. Since it was in the town of Fairfield, Floyd Station was one of the more comfortable and safe layovers for pony express riders. Many stations were small shacks in the middle of the desert, but the Camp Floyd station was an adobe inn that John Carson built.

John Carson, John Williams, and a few others established the Fairfield settlement in 1858 when they built homes and moved their families to the area. The settlement grew into a town when the U.S. Army arrived later that year. On July 8, 1858, the army arrived at the place where they would build Camp Floyd. The army ordered 16 million pounds of freight to be brought to Camp Floyd by the Russell, Majors, and Waddell firm. This contract forced the firm to expand their resources and capital. Russell, Majors, and Waddell would eventually create and operate the Pony Express. The construction of the camp was completed November 9, 1858, and it was named after Secretary of War John B. Floyd.

With the construction of Camp Floyd came an influx of soldiers. This raised the population of Fairfield to a booming 7,000. In its heyday, there were seventeen saloons to keep the residents entertained, and the town became quite rowdy. John Carson applied the strict precepts of his Mormon faith to the inn that he ran. Because of these standards, his inn became the designated place for famous and important visitors to stay. Mark Twain, Horace Greeley, Porter Rockwell, and Sir Richard Burton were among the celebrities who stopped at the inn. These big names shared a roof with the rugged riders of the Pony Express.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, things began to change. John B. Floyd joined the Confederacy and so the fort was renamed Fort Crittenden. The soldiers were called eastward and, on July 27, 1861, the last remnants of the army departed. On their way out, the army burned down their buildings and detonated their unused ammunition. By September 2, 1861, there were only eighteen families in Fairfield. One month later, the Pony Express was shut down and Fairfield’s boom period ended.

Images

John Carson House, Main Street, Fairfield, Utah County, UT
John Carson House, Main Street, Fairfield, Utah County, UT This side of John Carson’s inn faces south. Famous visitors like Mark Twain and Horace Greeley shared the inn with Pony Express riders. Source: Fairbanks, P. Kent, from the Library of Congress. “2. Historic American Buildings Survey, P. Kent Fairbanks, Photographer July 25, 1967 SOUTH ELEVATION. - John Carson House, Main Street, Fairfield, Utah County, UT HABS UTAH,25-FAIRF,2-2.tif,” available at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ut0113.photos.158607p/.
John Carson House, Main Street, Fairfield, Utah County
John Carson House, Main Street, Fairfield, Utah County The east side of John Carson’s home. Source: Fairbanks, P. Kent, from the Library of Congress. “Historic American Buildings Survey, P. Kent Fairbanks, Photographer July 25, 1967 EAST ELEVATION. - John Carson House, Main Street, Fairfield, Utah County, UT,” available at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ut0113.photos.158608p/.
Nearly Forgotten
Nearly Forgotten The Camp Floyd military cemetery. Source: From Flickr. “Nearly Forgotten,” available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/19779889@N00/18088574561/in/photolist-fGwX24-czboUw-9Pbew1-nExLfc-5BsKwU-49AYtD-xPMTd-sBuAvc-PAAZjB-czbpNL-mHuTLZ-ouin9g-tyqF2c-ouzQfZ-ouS6fF-mHuXPP-czbpoj-5kopHE-bX5qUU-YcKzuX-czbp8E-7ACtZn-5SRQRT-czbpAJ-i9wJG2-ouzPPt/.

Location

18035 1540 N, Fairfield, UT 84013

Metadata

Samuel Hauber, Brigham Young University, “Camp Floyd Pony Express Station,” Intermountain Histories, accessed June 23, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/196.