Pipe Spring National Monument is located in the state of Arizona, rich with American Indian, early explorer, and Mormon pioneer history.
The water of Pipe Spring has made it possible for plants, animals, and people to live in this dry desert region. Ancestral Puebloans and Kaibab Paiute Indians gathered grass seeds, hunted animals, and raised crops near the springs for at least 1,000 years.
Antonio Armijo discovered the springs when he passed through the area in 1829, when he established by the Armijo Route of the Old Spanish Trail.
Pipe Spring was named by the 1858 Latter-day Saint missionary expedition to the Hopi mesas led by Jacob Hamblin. In the 1860s Mormon pioneers from St. George, Utah, led by James M. Whitmore brought cattle to the area, and a large cattle ranching operation was established. In 1866 the Apache, Navajo and Paiute tribes of the region joined the Utes for the Black Hawk War, and, after they raided Pipe Spring, a protective fort was constructed by 1872 over the main spring. The following year the fort and ranch was purchased by Brigham Young for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The LDS Bishop of nearby Grafton, Utah, Anson Perry Winsor, was hired to operate the ranch and maintain the fort, soon called Winsor Castle. Pipe Springs was a beef ranch, dairy, and vegetable garden, used to supply the LDS summer homes & Temple in St. George. The dairy produced milk, cheese & butter. This isolated outpost served as a way station for people traveling across the Arizona Strip, that part of Arizona separated from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon. It also served as a refuge for polygamist wives during the 1880s and 1890s. The LDS Church lost ownership of the property through penalties involved in the federal Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887.
Although their way of life was greatly impacted by Mormon settlement, the Paiute Indians continued to live in the area and by 1907 the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation was established, surrounding the privately owned Pipe Spring ranch. In 1923, the Pipe Spring ranch was purchased and set aside as a national monument to be memorial of western pioneer life.
Regular half hour guided tours are offered through the rooms in the fort, which are all fully furnished with period fixtures and fittings. There are about 10 main rooms on 2 levels, in 2 sections with doors and windows facing inwards to a central courtyard, all enclosed by a high wall. The defensive capabilities of Pipe Spring were never tested, and the fort was instead used as a ranch and later as a private residence.