Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Stagecoach Inn

     If you have read the other 2 posts of Fairfield, then you may have realized that there is something in town called the Stagecoach Inn.  Fairfield is well known for two things: Camp Floyd and the Pony Express.  Today we are talking about the Pony Express.
    If you don't know what the Pony Express is, it was a overland route that existed around the 1860s which served for delivering mail.  It consisted of several way stations where riders could change horses.  This allowed riders to continually be on fresh horses, making the ride much quicker.  I am in love with this podcast that a friend showed me called "Stuff you missed in history class" (and lets be honest, no one really pays attention in history, so you probably missed a lot).  If you would like you can download the podcasts for free on itunes.  They have a great podcast on the Pony Express that I would recommend to listen to.  The most interesting thing that I learned was that the Pony Express was actually an economic failure and only lasted a couple of years.  It was eventually replaced by the transcontinental railroad.
     So to continue on with the Stagecoach Inn, there is a well known building in Fairfield which is actually a state park.   Here are two photos of the inn, the first from 1918 and the second from 1925:

     The plaque in front of the building reads: "Built by Mormon pioneer John Carson in 1858, the Stagecoach Inn served as a stop and hotel on the overland stagecoach route.  The horse-drawn stagecoaches on the route delivered mail and passengers from St. Louis, Missouri, to San Francisco, California.  The trip took 22 to 25 days.
     "Guests at the inn included westward travelers and visitors of nearby Camp Floyd.  General Albert Sindney Johnston preferred the inn because the owner John Carson's refusal to allow liquor on the premises.  Camp Floyd was abandoned in 1861, and the popularity of the stagecoach travel diminished with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869.  Despite these changes, the inn continued to operate until 1947, serving mainly travelers between Salt Lake City and the mining camps of western Utah and eastern Nevada."  One interesting guest who probably stayed at the inn was Mark Twain and his brother as they traveled through Utah.
    A plaque which includes several tidbits about Camp Floyd was installed across the street from the inn, probably around the 50s.  Here is a picture of the installation in addition to how the site currently looks:

Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

     Like I said earlier, the inn is located at the Camp Floyd and Stagecoach Inn State Park.  Next to the inn is a beautiful park with an amazingly huge tree.  At the park you can find instructions if you would actually like to travel on what was the Pony Express trail.  It starts in Fairfield and ends in Ibapah (a little city on the Utah-Nevada border) 133 miles later.  Only 7 miles of the trail are asphalt so if you do try it out, make sure you are ready for a dirt road and lots of desert.  Here is a picture of the park and a map of the trail:

1 comment:

  1. We invite everyone to join the Friends of Camp Floyd so we can have more historic unveiling.