The Old Pleasant Grove Fort was built in response to the breakout of the Walker War. Brigham Young had counseled the Latter-day Saints to build forts for protection against Indian attacks. The fort was the starting point of the modern layout of Pleasant Grove.
Ever since the LDS pioneers first came into Utah, Brigham Young encouraged the construction of forts for defense against the Indians. On one occasion on May 14, 1853, Brigham gave an address to the LDS people in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. He had been traveling around to the southern colonies and was reporting back and giving his counsel. He said:
"Every settlement that has been made in these valleys of the mountains has received strict charges from me to build in the first place a fort and live in it until they were sufficiently strong to live in a town to keep their guns and ammunition well prepared for any emergency and never cease to keep up a night watch if any apprehensions of the Indians being hostile were entertained." (Deseret News, May 14, 1853).
However, the settlers in Pleasant Grove did not build a fort as suggested by Brigham Young. When the settlers arrived at the Pleasant Grove site on September 13, 1850, they built their cabins close together to give them some protection.
When the Walker War broke out on July 17, 1853, the settlers hastily started construction of the fort in case the war made its way up to Pleasant Grove. They gathered together into a centralized area and began building the fort, covering about 4 square blocks. The fort had a public corral in the middle of it with about 120 cabins surrounding it about 10 rods out from the corral (about 55 feet). The exterior wall was constructed about another 10 rods from the houses. The walls were four feet high, giving minimal protection against an attack, but enough of a barrier to protect themselves.
When the war ended in 1854, the settlers stopped construction on the fort. Lots of American and Scandinavian immigrants came and settled in Pleasant Grove. To accommodate the growth, more houses and roads were built on the grid system based off of the layout of the fort. The fort area became the historic downtown section of the city. All that’s left of the fort are corner markers showing where the four corners of the fort would have been, located on the corners of 100 North 100 West, 100 North 300 East, 300 South 300 East, and 100 West 300 South in the historic downtown area of Pleasant Grove.
The Old Pleasant Grove Fort was an important part of Pleasant Grove’s history. It centralized the settlement to its current site. It gave a sense of security to the settlers, which led to the expansion of the city. It is a fascinating section of Pleasant Grove’s history.