As soon as the railroad was extended to the Wolcott area in the late 1800s, the stage route was started to carry mail, supplies, and travelers to the area. It served the little towns as far north as Steamboat Springs. Unlike our daily mail service, back then, the mail ran only three round rips per week. Large wheels provided clearance for rocks and up to 6 horses were needed to pull a fully loaded Concord stage.
A new road, which crossed the Grand River, was established to help with the stage traffic. The first freight was hauled over the road from Wolcott to Steamboat in 1889. The long journey meant the stage would spend the night at roadhouses along the river. There were also stations, every 10 miles, where tired horses could be traded out for a fresh team; up to 85 horses would be kept at the stations.
The stage stop was run by Charles McCoy, who also operated the ferry near present day McCoy. The coach would cross the river on a huge barge attached to steel cables & pulleys. It wasn’t until 1891 that a bridge was built, now called State Bridge. To build roads back then required horse drawn scrapers, plows, sledge hammers, and the use of black powder. Can you believe an 8 miles section of road was built for only $50!
Travel on the road was narrow, steep and very rocky. Weather made for hazardous traveling conditions, which caused only first class passengers to ride, leaving everyone else walking.
The stage continued to operate until 1909 when the railroad arrived at Steamboat Springs.
I am very grateful for airplanes and our current day traveling conditions!