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A source of water in the desert, the springs have long been associated with human settlement dating back at least 1000 years with Ancestral Puebloans and Kaibab Paiutes living in the area. Latter-day Saint pioneers rediscovered the springs in the late 1850s naming them Pipe Springs and establishing a ranching outfit in the area. Later conflict with the native peoples prompted the fortification of the springs and the building you see here was constructed from the native sandstone of the area.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints subsequently purchased the ranch in the early 1870s to operate as a tithing ranch. Pioneer members of the church, unable to pay their tithe in cash would donate cattle which were raised here. Dairy and meat products were prepared (in rooms at the bottom of the stairs) and then distributed to the church members and the needy. Carts would enter one end of the fort and exit the other, bringing supplies and leaving with meat and dairy goods.
With the invention of the telegraph, Brigham Young had a telegraph placed here (see the wire entering one of the upper rooms). Young women would learn the operation of the telegraph and provide important messaging and news services with the surrounding settlements and communication back to Salt Lake City.