Pipe Spring National Monument: Winsor Castle

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Tour Winsor Castle at Pipe Spring National Monument»

Pipe Spring National Monument is in Northern Arizona, just south of the Utah border. It is a National Park Service gem off the beaten path.  The natural spring made this once-lush land home to the Kaibab Paiutes. Mormons, driving cattle from St. George Utah were attracted to the oasis in the 1860s.  A fort called Winsor Castle was erected over the springs in 1872 which was then purchased by Brigham Young for the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
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The fort was never actually used for defensive measures in any battle, but instead became a thriving outpost for Westward travelers and even had its own telegraph. Pipe Springs served as a ranch and dairy farm, shipping fresh cheese and other provisions back to the settlement at St. George.
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The church lost ownership of the Pipe Springs as a penalty to the federal government in 1887 over a dispute involving polygamy.
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We arrived at the park just in time to take the tour of Winsor Castle. Ranger Julie was a great guide…she taught us a lot about the history of the area, but kept it fun and interesting, even for my teen. The highlight was the cold room in the basement with the spring running through it and the remnants of the cheese-making operation.

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The story of how this area, which was once a rich grassland, gave way to high desert because of over-farming is a sobering tale…and a cautionary one of what could happen if we don’t take better care of the environment.

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The National Park Service has a virtual tour of the fort which you can view by clicking here.

Pipe Spring Posts:


Location: 406 N Pipe Spring Rd, Fredonia, AZ 86022

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 5/31/1923

Date of my visit: 4/14/2017

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