Little Dell Station was a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#71000850) until the Little Dell Reservoir Dam was created and the area became submerged in the reservoir.
The Little Dell Station was built of reddish sandstone. The walls about 18 inches thick. The gabled roof had a low pitch with an extended shed roof on the rear, all a part of the original structure. Two chimneys rose above a fire place on each end. Pictures of the site painted by Daniel Weggland in 1887 and in 1889 indicated the structure had undergone only the slightest modification, A sandstone and cement porch has been added to the front of the home.
Originally, the station was only part of the Stage Stop complex. Across the road from the front of the house were barns and corrals. Beyond them were the pastures and fields which provided forage and food for stock and travelers. Near the house to the rear, was a small spring which was used as a water supply source for the station. Across the fields east ran Mountain Dell Creek.
Traffic through or Into what became Utah faced serious geographic obstacles. As a consequence of the “successful” descent of Emigration Canyon. the Donner-Reed Party in 1846 enroute to California, the trace was opened. Mormon pioneers elected to follow that route in 1847, crossing from East Canyon Creek a tributary of the Weber River which emptied into
Great Salt Lake to the north, over Big Mountain, from which pass they first
glimpsed the Salt Lake Valley, into Mountain Dell Canyon.
A few miles below the Summit (3-4 miles) Ephraim Hanks, Feramorz
Little and Brigham Young, Jr. established a camp (1856) below Birch Springs
but up canyon from Little Dell. Their purposes were to provide a way stop
for travelers, among whom were such illuminaries as Sir Richard Burton and Mark Twain, and members of the handcart companies, and to keep the pass over Big Mountain open when winter snows closed them. Hanks owned two big oxen to “plow” the trail with. The dislocation associated with the Mormon War moved Hanks from the area in 1858; however, he returned and remained until he moved to Parley’s Park to the east in early 1860.
Little Dell Station appears to have been built by William B. Hardy in 1860. It became known as the “.breakfast and supper stop” out of Salt Lake City, being the last or first stop on the old emigrant trail. From this point the trail continued down Mountain Dell Canyon a little more than a mile, then swung north and west across Little Mountain to begin the descent of Emigration Canyon. During the April 1860 to October 1861 run of the Pony Express, this station was also used by them.
In 1860, a route was opened through Parley’s Canyon to the south and west allowing traffic, namely, via the Overland Stage Lines, to come from the Echo-Coalville area west over Silver Creek and Parley’s Park (where the
Kimball Hotel and Stage Stop was built), and thereby avoid the steep ascent
and descent of Big Mountain and pass into Salt Lake Valley through Parley’s
Canyon, now the route of I-15.
Nevertheless, less affluent travelers persisted in their use of the old
trail through the 1860’s and beyond, and to stop and recruit at Little Dell
Station. Hardy continued to farm nearby and was made Bishop of the Mountain Dell Ward. In 1883 he sold his property to the Union Pacific Railroad for their Park City Line. Two years later Francis Armstrong, Salt Lake business man, bought Mountain Dell for use as a summer home and Thoroughbred Stud Farm. By 1900, Salt Lake City Corporation had acquired the property as part of their water shed. The old station has been used for years as a girls’ summer camp.