Stage Road Robbery

It is still called Bullion Bend, that stretch of curving old stage road from Placerville to Carson Valley that was bypassed during construction of modern Highway 50. There, in 1864, two Pioneer Line stagecoaches were held up by Confederate sympathizers who said that they needed Comstock Lode silver bullion to finance the Continue reading Stage Road Robbery

Irrepressible Hank Monk

Henry “Hank” Monk started his staging career at a tender age in New York, driving a regular run 20 miles from Waddington to Massena. He was in his twenties when he arrived in California in 1852. Monk drove treacherous Sierra Nevada passes for nearly twenty-five years, with only two relatively minor accidents. He is celebrated, though, for the wild ride he gave Horace Greeley in Continue reading Irrepressible Hank Monk

Stage Proprietors Hall & Crandall

When the Gold Rush lured thousands of fortune hunters to California, New England stagemen followed to establish the first overland transportation in the West. Among these seasoned entrepreneurs were brothers Warren and William Hall and their partner, Jared Crandall. In the early spring of 1850 Hall & Crandall purchased the San Jose-to-San Francisco stage lines of Continue reading Stage Proprietors Hall & Crandall

Staging Founder James Birch

Staging didn’t exist in California before the Gold Rush lured tens of thousands of fortune-hunters west. James E. Birch, an experienced stage driver in Rhode Island before coming to California in 1849 as one of those thousands of eager gold-seekers, founded the first stage service. At Sacramento City he observed Continue reading Staging Founder James Birch

The Glorious Concord

There were different styles of staging vehicles in Gold Rush California; a fact now all but forgotten as the image of a full-bodied stagecoach—glorified in paintings, museum exhibits and big-screen westerns—has become this century’s standard of what a stagecoach looked like.  In the late 1820s skilled wheelwright Continue reading The Glorious Concord