In the early spring of 1849, the fertile soil , abundant water, lush grazing land of Utah Valley and the timber and fish of Provo River attracted settlers from Salt Lake Valley. On April 1, about thirty men, accompanied by some sons and perhaps one or more families, arrived at Provo River, then called Timpanogos River. Promising to coexist peacefully with the Utes, these first settlers chose a site some one hundred yards west of the trail and rover ford. On April 3, they began to build a fort, the Northeast corner of which was only about 85 feet from the river and likely near here.
The fort extended west and south from that point, initially it consisted of two rows of adjoining cottonwood log cabins that faced each other across an open area. The men plowed and planted fields. Soon their families joined them at the infant settlement, which they named Fort Utah or Utah Settlement. By June nearly 190 men, women and children loved there. As the community grew, they built cabins across the north and south ends. By late fall of 1849 57 cabins enclosed a 1.5-acre central square. Fort Utah eventually measured about 330 feet by 500 feet. The colonists build a bastion in the middle of the fort on which to mount their cannon. The space beneath the bastion served as a meeting place for the community. As relationships with the Timpanogos Utes deteriorated the settlers surrounded the cabins with a 12-foot-tall log picket stockade for safety. In the spring of 1850 the residents chose a better fort site about 1.5 miles to the North-east. Most relocated there by late fall nearly abandoning the original Fort Utah. For a while the old fort temporarily housed travelers , then it fell into disuse and virtually disappeared.