Heritage Trail of Northwest Arkansas
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Replica Stagecoach at Elk Horn Tavern at the
Pea Ridge National Military Park.

 

Butterfield Stagecoach Route

In 1858 John Butterfield began operating the longest stagecoach run in the history of the world. Butterfield’s mail coaches ran from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco, right through Northwest Arkansas. The mileage of the route was approximately 2,800 miles. Coaches were to run each way twice a week. Having 25 days to make each run, the coaches traveled day and night to meet this deadline. There were stage stops every 20 miles or so to change teams.

 


Callahan Station in Rogers, ca. 1910.
Courtesy of the
Rogers Historical Museum,
Rogers, Arkansas. Negative #N017890.

 

 

The first westbound Butterfield Stage stopped at Callahan’s Station in present day Rogers on September 18, 1858, a Saturday morning. It was then down through Cross Hollow on the way to Fitzgerald’s Station in modern day Springdale (then Shiloh). The stage arrived in Fayetteville at 11:00 a.m. that Saturday morning and left at 10 minutes till noon on the way south toward the rugged Boston Mountains on the way to Van Buren and Fort Smith.

Of the route from Fayetteville to Fort Smith it was said by one of the first riders, “I might say the road was steep, rugged, jagged, rough, and mountainous and then wish for more impressive words”.

This first westbound stage arrived in San Francisco on October 10, 1858, one day ahead of schedule. The Butterfield Stagecoach ran from 1858 till 1861. It is said that Texas and Arkansas Rebels confiscated many of the coaches and horses for the war effort.

 

 

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