I'm staying at the University of Utah, in an area called Fort Douglas.
The red and white building in the distance is the University Guest House. It is a newly built, but it fits in with rest of the fort, all designed from the same school of architects who build the Presido in San Francisco. The fort has its own website, naturally. The on-line Utah Encyclopedia has a concise article about this history of the fort, but not as colorful as others I found.
In the guidebook I found in my hotel room, I am told that Fort Douglas was established by the US Government during the Civil War by an army unit recalled East from California to protect the emmigrant and mail road from "Indian depredations." But I had a dim memory from my reading that the US government built a fort here for some other reason: keeping an eye on Brigham Young. Young had come to Utah with the intention of creating an independent country, and probably would have had gold not been discovered in California, bringing gentiles into Deseret as they hadn't planned on. During the Civil War, the US government had no interest in allowing Young to raise his own army under the guise of "Indian Fighting." There had already been a Utah War in the late 1850s.
Utah History to Go writes this version of the founding of Fort Douglas:
"On the 29th of October, 1862, with loaded rifles, fixed bayonets and shotted cannon, Colonel Connor marched the Volunteers into Salt Lake City, and proceeded 'to the bench,' directly east of the city. There, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, they planted the United States flag, and created Camp Douglas."
In a footnote to his book The Rocky Mountain Saints, Stenhouse remarked, "Connor could not possibly have selected a better situation for a military post, and certainly no place could have been chosen more offensive to Brigham. The artillery have a perfect and unobstructed range of Brigham's residence, and with their muzzles turned in that direction, the Prophet felt awfully annoyed." Connor named the new camp after the recently deceased Little Giant, Stephen A. Douglas.
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