FREMONT Island almost became a “Buffalo Park,” several decades before Antelope Island even received its first herd of transplanted bison.
“The ‘Buffalo’ Island. That is what Fremont Island is likely to become. A government appropriation anticipated. An important feature which will be a great addition to Ogden’s many attractions,” was a lengthy May 9, 1890 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
C.J. “Buffalo” Jones wanted to create a buffalo preserve on the island and supposedly had a promise of $30,000 in aid from the federal government to get his project started.
In addition, Jones had talked with the Rio Grande Railroad about the possibility of building a track from its main line, across the Great Salt Lake, to Fremont Island. (This was many years before the Lucin Cutoff was constructed across the GSL.)
Of course, Jones’ plan didn’t happen, but his was one of many dreams for the western Weber County Isle.
The Davis County Clipper reported on Oct. 20, 1899, that there was a plan to develop Fremont Island into a sanitarium. That didn’t happen either. Neither did a proposed dyke ever connect Antelope and Fremont islands as part of a fresh water reservoir plan, first envisioned in 1910.
MORE Fremont Island and Great Salt Lake information:
-Blanche H. Wenner buried her mother’s ashes on Fremont in June of 1943.
-Charles Stoddard of Hooper built the fence around the Fremont gravesite. He used rocks from the old Wenner house to create the memorial with the plaques on.
-Large icebergs reported on GSL in March of 1942.
-From St. Examiner March 13, 1956, Southern Pacific had signed a $49 million contract to replace the wooden trestle of the Lucin Cutoff with rockfill/dirt causeway, 12 miles long and to start in 1960. High maintence costs and redecking being needed for millions as the reason for the change; plus no fear of fire.
-Only 1 tree on Fremont Island in 1940s.
-Ranchers called Castle rock “Haystack Rock.”
-The first trip of the Lakemobile to Fremont Island was in 1934.
-Phantom Coyote killed 6 or more sheep on Fremont Island. Took 20 hunters and 3 trips to kill it it. Finally Orville Harris of Ogden wounded it and it plunged into the lake. The hunters had to jump into a motor boat to pursue it and kill it. It had lived in the rocky areas of the island. Hunters went by lakemobile, horseback across the sandbar to hunt the critter.
-On Fremont, Stoddard had as many as 700 sheep.
-Stoddard also bought a L.C.V.P. war surplus landing craft to use to reach Fremont from Promontory Point too.
-Stoddard was nicknamed “Utah’s Flying Shepherd” by Western Livestock Journal, because of airlifting in supplies food to his sheep. He would drop a 200-pound load of corn-bean pellets from his plane daily for 2 months to bring 800 sheep through a critical period.
-He also lost horses in the lake’s quicksand: “To stand there powerless and watch those helpless horses disappear into the quicksand. After that I used a boat,” Stoddard once said.
-Arrowheads, platters, plates and a tablet with strange writing wee all found by Earl Stoddard, cousin to Charles Stoddard, on Fremont Island.
-In 1960, the grass on Fremont gave out and Stoddard had to fly food in 120 straight days by plane.
-By 1961, the lake had dropped so low that 100 lambs waded out in the lake waters and were lost. Soon after a windstorm at the Ogden airport destroyed his airplane, tethered there.
-Another time a lightning storm caught Fremont Island on fire and he had to move his sheep to Carrington Island for a season.
-In one of the “Phantom coyote hunting photos, 1844 to 1944 is painted on rock above and below the Fremont cross.
-May 4, 1956, fire damages Lucin Cutoff trestle and closed it for several hundred feet. Charles Stoddard’s barge was used by firemen to spray water on the smoldering trestle.
-Feb. 27, 1969. High winds damaged the causeway tp Antelope Island and cut a breach 200 feet wide 3-4 feet deep
(All this information from Jewell Kenley’s scrapbook of Stoddard, a relative of hers.)