Tollgate Canyon History
Just passing through? In the 1840s, that’s exactly what Parley P. Pratt had in mind. Pratt was searching for an easier route into Salt Lake Valley—one easier than that forged by his contemporaries at the now infamous Donner-Reed company. After surveying the area in the spring of 1848, Pratt was certain he could open an easier road. He planned to avoid the Big and Little Mountains by turning south at Echo Canyon, past Coalville, through the easier terrain of Kimball Junction, then entering the valley through the canyon now known as Parley’s. His route generally followed what is now I-80.
Pratt advanced the cost of the route out of his own pocket and charged travelers a toll: fifty cents for a wagon drawn by one animal, seventy-five cents for a wagon drawn by two animals, ten cents for each additional pack or saddle animal, five cents a head for loose stock, and a penny a head for each sheep. The tollgate was just below Suicide Rock at the canyon mouth.