First stagecoach travelers arrive
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
At last the first contingent of Concord Stage Coaches, under the watchful eye of "Stuttering Brown," arrived here today on their way from Cheyenne to the Black Hills. they will spend the night here and proceed to Custer city early in the morning. The three fine Concord coaches with their graceful curving bodies suspended on heavy leather throughbraces were "loaded to the gills" including the china seat. There were at least 18 passengers per coach.
Jack Gilmer, senior partner of Gilmer, Salisbury and Patrick owners of the line, was in the "boot" driving the lead coach when they left Cheyenne April 3. At Fort Laramie Gilmer entrusted this first contingent of through passenger coaches to the care of Northern Division Agent "Stuttering Brown." Supt. Luke Voorhees followed close behind to check up on everything and to be on hand in case of necessity.
Voorhees opened the main stage office in Cheyenne, just west of the new Inter-Ocean Hotel on Sixteenth Street, and an office for express, at the Union Pacific Depot. the stage barn and corrals, enclosed by a high lumber and log fence, were on the northeast corner of the intersection of 20th and O'Neil Streets, with the blacksmith shop extending back to 21st Street.
The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Line had notified Union Pacific Railroad Supt. Kimball on March 10 that: "We have now on hand and ready for service ten Concord Overland coaches and sufficient harness to equip the line, with facilities to double the number of stages and equipment on a week's notice, if the travel should require it. In addition to this, we have arranged for wagon trains for the transportation of freight, miners' outfits, supplies, and second and third class passengers in large or small numbers. The time for second class will be four days, and for third class six days. Eating stations between here and Fort Laramie are already established, and from the Fort to Custer City are now being built, and will be ready to commence operations in about two weeks, so that we shall have the daily line of stages fully inaugurated and running through to Custer City on or before the first day of April.
"The running time during the spring months will be three days from Cheyenne to Custer, and after that two days or less, if deemed necessary.
"Rates of fare will be as follows: First class, Cheyenne to Custer City, $20; second class, $15; third class, $10. (These rates apply only to through tickets.)...By the road now traveled the distance from Cheyenne to Custer City is 246 miles. Our forwarding houses can furnish transportation for 2,000,000 pounds at a shipment. Freight charges, Cheyenne to Custer, range from 3 1/2 to 6 centers per pound, according to the kind of animals employed and time consumed on the road."
Currently the stages are scheduled to leave every other day from Cheyenne and Custer City.