Remembering Stagecoach Travel in Colorado
Travel in Colorado in the late 1800s wasn't as easy as it is today.
Getting to and from a place involved one of three ways. You either had a horse and rode it, you walked or you rode the stagecoach.
These days we have so many options it isn't funny. And luxurious in comparison. Consider the facts about stagecoaches.
They were expensive for the day, somewhere around $1200-1500 dollars each and weighed over 2000 pounds. Manufacturing stagecoaches was mostly a man's job, but the company that supplied them for companies like Wells Fargo, the Abbott/Downing Company, had one female employee whose job was to stitch the leather the seats were made of. She did this for the entire 30 years she worked for them.
Comfort wasn't a thought then, either. Inside the coach, you could fit nine people, but it was cramped, and if you had more than nine riding, they sat on top of the coach. Not a good spot in inclement weather, for sure.
Stagecoaches used in Colorado were usually referred to as "mud wagons." because they were often found on muddy roads. The mountainous terrain and harsh weather made travel difficult.
How you decided to ride was equally important. A first-class ticket meant you rode the entire way. A second class ticket meant you would ride a good part of the way, but had to get out and walk the bad places in the road, and a third class ticket let you ride but,m in addition to walking the bad spots, you also had to get out and push on hills.
Ultimately, the turn of the century brought technology that would spell the end of stagecoaches as the main type of travel. The automobile.
But while they lasted, they sure did their part in expanding the United States.