Julian Stage Line Stage Wagon, circa 1900

Summary

A stagecoach was the most common way Americans traveled over long distances well into the 19th century. Traveling by "stage," through an elaborate network of routes operated with continual relays of fresh horses, was much faster than driving one's own horse and carriage these great distances. Stagecoach travel peaked about 1835-just before railroads joined the transportation network, leaving stage lines to operate connecting routes to and from the railroads rather than providing long distance transportation. Stage lines-especially in the western United States-used stage wagons like this one to carry their overland passengers. Many of these stage lines also had contracts to transport the U.S. mail. Lighter and less expensive than the familiar stagecoaches seen in western movies, the stage wagon's open sides could be covered with canvas curtains attached to the wagon's top to protect the passengers from bad weather. This stage wagon carried passengers and mail on the Julian Stage Line in San Diego County, California. Passengers boarding in the mining town of Julian took this stage to Foster, where they could then catch the train for the 25-mile trip to San Diego. The Julian Stage Line operated from the early 1880s to about 1910.

A stagecoach was the most common way Americans traveled over long distances well into the 19th century. Traveling by "stage," through an elaborate network of routes operated with continual relays of fresh horses, was much faster than driving one's own horse and carriage these great distances. Stagecoach travel peaked about 1835-just before railroads joined the transportation network, leaving stage lines to operate connecting routes to and from the railroads rather than providing long distance transportation. Stage lines-especially in the western United States-used stage wagons like this one to carry their overland passengers. Many of these stage lines also had contracts to transport the U.S. mail. Lighter and less expensive than the familiar stagecoaches seen in western movies, the stage wagon's open sides could be covered with canvas curtains attached to the wagon's top to protect the passengers from bad weather. This stage wagon carried passengers and mail on the Julian Stage Line in San Diego County, California. Passengers boarding in the mining town of Julian took this stage to Foster, where they could then catch the train for the 25-mile trip to San Diego. The Julian Stage Line operated from the early 1880s to about 1910.

Artifact

Stage wagon

Date Made

circa 1900

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

36.520.188

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Canvas
Leather
Paint (Coating)
Wood (Plant material)

Color

Black (Color)
Green
Gold (Color)
Red
Yellow

Dimensions

Height: 113.25 in

Width: 75 in

Length: 158 in

Wheelbase: 81 in

Diameter: 44.5 in  (Wheel Diameter)

Diameter: 50.5 in  (Wheel Diameter)

Inscriptions

Painted in gold leaf on each side of the driver's seat: U. S. MAIL / JULIAN / STAGE / LINE

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