Central Overland Trail – Washington Square
[previously Emigrant Square)
“The city presents a handsome appearance. About 3 o’clock the whole train arrived and is camped in Emigration Square in a dusty place, full of horses and wagons from the states. A large number of old acquaintances came into our camp to congratulate us on our safe arrival.”
This city block is now known as Washington Square, but during the 1850s and 60s it was known as Emigrant Square. All covered-wagon emigrants who planned to spend any time in Salt Lake City were required to set up camp within this block. While camping here they were able to rest their livestock and replenish their supplies.
In 1859 Captain James H. Simpson led an expedition that opened a new route between Salt Lake City and California which became known as the Central Overland Trail. Emigrant Square was the beginning point of that route. During its short history this route was used by the Pony Express, the Overland Stage, and significant numbers if California-bound emigrants.