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Fielding Garr Ranch, Antelope Island State Park

The historic resources at Fielding Garr Ranch tell the story of more than 150 years of ranching in Utah. Fielding Garr established a cattle ranch on Antelope Island in 1848. John Dooly bought the ranch in 1884 and converted it to a sheep operation that existed for 90 years. The State of Utah purchased the ranch complex in 1981.

Recognizing the ranch site's valuable cultural heritage, the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation undertook a comprehensive project involving many partners to preserve, restore, and interpret the ranch for visitors. One highlight of the project is the careful restoration of Fielding Garr's 1848 adobe ranch house, Utah's oldest Anglo-built structure in its original location. The bunk house, spring house, and blacksmith shop built by Garr received similar attention.

The sheep shearing barn built by John Dooly had been significantly altered. Research, oral histories, and good luck allowed an accurate restoration of this important building. The planning team located a dump site on the island containing nearly all of the historic sheep shearing mechanism. The deteriorated machinery was collected and reinstalled for exhibition on a reconstructed sheep shearing platform.

The planning team worked to balance the preservation of fragile resources with anticipated high visitor use. Staff are monitoring the delicate areas of the site and have created interpretive programming that offers a glimpse of everyday life on a western ranch. This type of site planning, programming, and preservation serve as a model for State Parks as it strives to protect and interpret all its heritage sites.