Late in the emigration, the ninth, and last, crossing of the Sweetwater River was known variously as Gilbertís Station, Upper Sweetwater Station, South Pass Station, and finally, Burnt Ranch. The site served as a rest and relay station for the Concord coaches, the Pony Express and telegraph lines. It was here that the Seminoe Cutoff rejoined the original trail and where the Lander Road branched off.
Because of the key role it played in protecting both emigrant and military traffic as well as the telegraph lines, the station became a favorite target for the Indians. A unit of the 11th Ohio Volunteers was stationed here between 1862 and 1868 to guard the emigrants and telegraph lines. They were frequently harassed by the Indians. In 1868, they finally abandoned the station and, shortly thereafter, the Indians burned it to the ground, giving it its lasting name.
National Park Service
Comprehensive Management Plan