First Highway Robbery

Beginning in 1849, California stagecoaches transported more than $100 million in gold from isolated back-woods camps to big-city safes; yet seven years passed before any thief had the nerve to hold up a moving stage. The first stage robbery attempt occurred on August 12, 1856, when the Tom Bell gang, masked and mounted, Continue reading First Highway Robbery

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

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

Stage Fare $200 in Gold

In June 1907, when stagecoach travel was rapidly being replaced by the railroads, an old, yellowed handbill happened to surface. “Atchison, Kansas to San Francisco, California in 35 days; fare, only $200 in gold” read the heading. Issued by the Atchison and California stagecoach line in 1857, the handbill advertised the line’s Continue reading Stage Fare $200 in Gold