Submitted by scott on

Water for Dugway Station had to be hauled from Simpson’s Springs. Although three wells were dug over several years, one reaching a depth of 120 feet, no water was found. Noted as a “substation” by Horace Greeley, nothing very permanent was ever constructed at the site. In 1860 a shelter was placed over a dugout and an adobe chimney installed. In the 1890′s, the location was utilized as a halfway stop by the Walters and Mulliner Stage Co. on the route between Fairfield and Ibapah. A monument is located at the site today. Physical evidence at the station site is limited to a disturbed area containing poorly preserved metal objects (possibly from a corral or blacksmithing area north of the wash) and some concentrated stone.

Also known as Shortcut Pass, it is located on BLM land east of Dugway Pass, which connects the Dugway mountain range to the north and the Thomas range on the south. The station was located ~1½ mile south of the modern road, about 8¼ miles west of Riverbed. Burton says that the station was simply a dugout roofed over with split cedar logs, with a crude adobe chimney. Three wells were attempted, the deepest being dug to a depth of more than 153 feet. All were dry, and water had to be hauled from Simpson or Riverbed. Nothing remains but a monument.(Expedition Utah)

Most sources agree on the identity of this station, listed as Dugway in the 1861 mail contract. Fike and Headley place this site ten and one-half miles from River Bed Station. A dugout with an adobe chimney probably served as the main structure at the station, noted for its three deep wells and lack of water. Someone hauled water from Simpson's Springs to Dugway on a regular basis. Dugway also experienced some activity in the 1890s as a stopping point for the Walters and Mulliner Stage Line from Fairfield to Ibapah. As late as 1979, a monument marked the station site area.


"For sixty- eight miles there was but one break in it. I do not remember that this was really a break; indeed it seems to me that it was nothing but a watering depot in the midst of the stretch of sixty-eight miles. If my memory serves me, there was no well or spring at this place, but the water was hauled there by mule and ox teams from the further side of the desert. There was a stage station there. It was forty-five miles from the beginning of the desert, and twenty-three from the end of it.

"We plowed and dragged and groped along, the whole live-long night, and at the end of this uncomfortable twelve hours we finished the forty-five- mile part of the desert and got to the stage station where the imported water was. The sun was just rising. It was easy enough to cross a desert in the night while we were asleep; and it was pleasant to reflect, in the morning, that we in actual person had encountered an absolute desert and could always speak knowingly of deserts in presence of the ignorant thenceforward. And it was pleasant also to reflect that this was not an obscure, back country desert, but a very celebrated one, the metropolis itself, as you may say. All this was very well and very comfortable and satisfactory—but now we were to cross a desert in daylight. This was fine—novel—romantic—dramatically adventurous—this, indeed, was worth living for, worth traveling for! We would write home all about it."

(Roughing It)

After twenty miles over the barren plain we reached, about sunset, the station at the foot of the Dugway. It was a mere "dug out" - a hole four feet deep, roofed over with split cedar trunks, and provided with a rude adobe chimney. The tenants were two rough young fellows - station master and express rider - with their friend, an English bull dog. One of them had amused himself by decorating the sides of the habitation with niches and Egyptian heads. Rude art seems instinctively to take that form which it wears on the banks of Nilus, and should some Professor Rafinesque discover these traces of the aborigines, after a sepulture of a century, they will furnish materials for a rich chapter on anti-Columbian immigration. Water is brought to the station in casks. The youths believe that some seven miles north of the Dugway there is a spring, which the Indians, after the fashion of that folk, sensibly conceal from the whites. Three wells have been sunk near the station. Two soon led to rock; the third has descended 120 feet, but is still bone dry. It passes first through a layer of surface silt, then through three or four feet of loose, friable, fossilless, chalky lime, which, when slaked, softened, and mixed with sand, is used as mortar. The lowest strata are of quartz gravel, forming in the deeper parts a hard conglomerate. The workmen complained greatly of the increasing heat as they descend. Gold now becomes uppermost in man's mind. The youths seeing me handle the rubbish at once asked me if I was prospecting for gold.

After roughly supping we set out, with a fine round moon high in the skies, to ascend the Dugway Pass, by a rough dusty road winding round the shoulder of a hill, through which a fiumara has burst its way. Like other Utah mountains, the highest third rises suddenly from a comparatively gradual incline, a sore formation for cattle, requiring draught to be at least doubled. Arriving on the summit we sat down, while our mules returned to help the baggage wagons, and amused ourselves with the strange aspect of the scene. To the north or before us and far below lay a long broad stretch, white as snow - the Saleratus Desert, west of the Great Salt Lake. It wore a grisly aspect in the silvery light of the moon. Behind us was the brown plain, sparsely dotted with shadows, and dewless in the evening as in the morning. As the party ascended the summit with much noisy shouting, they formed a picturesque group - the well bred horses wandering to graze, the white tilted wagons with their panting mules, and the men in felt capotes and huge leather leggins. In honor of our good star which had preserved every hoof from accident we "liquored up" on that summit, and then began the descent. (p 457-458)
(The City of the Saints)

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