Stagecoach Era: 25 Years as a Home Stop
"In cold weather, don't wear tight boots or gloves.
If the team runs away, don't jump out. Take your chances staying put.
Never shoot from a coach.
Don't point out where people have been murdered. It scares the ladies."
The stagecoach was not a vehicle for the fragile. But with all its dangers and discomforts, the stagecoach still revolutionized the area when it reached Oregon in 1860. Thinly settled, remote, and plagued by poor overland transportation, the new state of Oregon celebrated when, just at the start of the Civil War, the California Stage Company began providing daily service between Sacramento and Portland. The trip lasted seven days in summer, and twelve days in winter: it was the second longest stagecoach run in the country.
The Mountain House was located at the foot of the Siskiyou range, right along the California/
Oregon Trail that evolved into the stagecoach route. Not surprisingly, the inn became a "home stop" a waystation where stagecoach passengers and drivers were fed and teams of horses were switched out and stabled.
For 25 years the stagecoach stopped here, for exactly half an hour. According to a winter schedule from 1878 (shown above), when the stage arrived at the Mountain House on its way north, it did so at 2:15 am, meaning that it made the perilous trip over the Siskiyou Mountains in the dead of night. Even now, the Siskiyou Pass can be challenging, as the highest point on the entire length of I-5.
In the 1860's the Portland-Sacramento run employed 28 coaches, 500 horses, 14 stage agents, and 38 drivers. A restored coach from the California/Oregon line and the drivers on the local leg of that trip ("knights of the whip") are shown in the photos above.