×
×
homepage logo

Volunteers lead restoration efforts at Fort Buenaventura, seek new street names to honor early settlers

By Deniane Kartchner - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 13, 2022

Deniane Kartchner, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The Fort is undergoing restoration and renewal thanks to the Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men (FBMM), a volunteer organization whose mission is to preserve knowledge and skills of the early 1800s and to protect and beautify the Fort.

For over 175 years, Fort Buenaventura, “the Fort” to locals, has been protected from modern meddling. Today it’s experiencing restoration and renewal thanks to the Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men (FBMM), a volunteer organization whose mission is to preserve knowledge and skills of the early-1800s and to protect and beautify the Fort.

Located west of the rail yards on 24th Street, the 84-acre river tract of land near the Weber River symbolizes “the transition from nomadic ways of the Indian tribes and trappers to the first permanent settlers in the Great Basin,” states the FBMM website. The historic park is home to annual events — Easter Mountain Man Rendezvous and OFOAM’s Ogden Music Festival in June — and offers outdoor recreation including camping, fishing, canoeing and a championship 18-hole disc golf course.

Ogden’s first permanent settlers were Miles Goodyear — trapper/trader — and his wife, Pomona, daughter of Ute Chief Peteetneet and mother to their two children, Willie and Eliza.

“Now, Peter Skene Ogden, he’s given lots of credit for his accomplishments,” explained FBMM leader Brad Timothy about the history of the mountain man and the naming of Ogden City. “But Miles Goodyear was as much a part of that story as anybody.”

Sue Barker (Turtle Dove), proprietor of “Trader’s Row” at the Fort for many years, explained, “I think he [Goodyear] was important because he was ‘our’ mountain man. He’s the one who built … and lived here; he’s the one who loved the area. Other states have their mountain men. But Miles is ours.”

Deniane Kartchner, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Statuesque wood carving of a beaver by artist/mountain man Brad Timothy on the grounds of Fort Buenaventura.

The Miles Goodyear Primitive Camp is being built “from the inspiration of Chuck Willis (Thor) and about 50 other people that all jump in and contribute and help do things,” Timothy said.

“We’re turning the Fort back into a historical place, trying to match it up closer to the time period when it was first built,” explained Thor.

During Buckskinner Days and the annual Easter Rendezvous, the otherwise-sleepy Fort is awakened with the sights, smells and sounds of the seasons. Smokey fires. Sizzling food. The whirr of arrows, bullets and smack talk. Pelts, feathers, beadwork, leather. And kids running back and forth between tents and tipis.

Barker explained, “I’m interested in getting young people hooked, because if they don’t, who will be there to carry this on?”

At the Fort, the group has big plans to build a smokehouse and a fur press. They’ve already built a canoe, cabins and a mud oven.

Deniane Kartchner, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Included in the renewal/restoration of Fort Buenaventura in Ogden is a "new" primitive camp dedicated by the Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men to Miles Goodyear, founder of the Fort in 1845-46.

“We bake chicken in there on our Buckskinner Days,” Timothy said, held the second Saturday of every month. “We swap lies and teach each other new things. … Everybody’s working on projects.”

Timothy, a woodcarver, has made use of fallen trees to create three statuesque carvings of a wolf, a bear and a beaver. His other recent works include signage for the Fort, painting a buffalo robe and building a 32-inch Pow Wow drum from an elk shot last fall. The horns hang in the Fort over the Goodyear Cabin — in 2019 it got a makeover with a “new” floor, repaired logs and a rebuilt chimney. Furnishings were added and the fireplace experienced a historic stone facelift on the hearth and threshold.

Other group projects — most of them initiated by Thor, Timothy said — have included building corrals and fencing for horses (Goodyear was a horse trader, after all) and planting trees encased in wire to protect them from active beavers.

A goal of the group is to turn one of the cabins into a historically accurate trading post and another into a working saddle shop. If you have early-1800s stuff to donate — blankets, saddles, store goods — they’ll gladly accept and display them, Thor said.

“We hope in some small way to honor the many people that occupied these lands before us and remember their customs, hard work and sacrifice that has been the foundation of our nation and way of life,” the FBMM promises.

Deniane Kartchner, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The Fort symbolizes the transition from nomadic ways of the Native American tribes and trappers to the first permanent settlers in the Great Basin.

Timothy hopes to create a row of recognition at the Fort using large-scale reproduction panels of paintings originally created for the Utah Sesquicentennial. He’s also petitioning Ogden residents and Ogden City Council to honor-name A and B streets after Miles and Pomona and is hopeful that names of other indigenous leaders will make the maps of Ogden, too.

Weber County Heritage Foundation Director Katie Nelson said, “There’s a global feel to this place … that this generation identifies with.” She’s looking forward to collaborating with FBMM in honoring the diversity associated with its history.

In a little more than 22 years, the Fort will celebrate its 200th birthday. Kids will have grown up. The trees will be bigger. Everyone involved will be older and wiser. Participants involved in its preservation hope by rekindling the past they’ll carry the fire of Fort Buenaventura into the future.

For more information, visit fortbuenaventuramountainmen.org.

Brad Timothy is working on getting Ogden’s A and B streets just west of the Fort honor-named for Goodyear and his wife, Pomona.

Photo taken at the annual Mountain Men Easter Rendezvous at the Fort; proceeds make up a large portion of Weber County’s annual budget for care of the park, which is in the hands of the volunteer group Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men.

Brad Timothy is a key player in the Fort Buenaventura Mountain Men. He is working on getting Ogden’s A and B streets just west of the Fort honor-named for Goodyear and his wife, Pomona.

Newsletter

Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)