The Circle Route Stagecoach was called a celerity ‘Mud Wagon” which was a type of Concord stagecoach designed for mountainous or difficult terrain. The name “mud wagon” comes from the fact that the roads it was used on were often muddy. Abbot-Downing and M.P. Henderson Company of Concord, New Hampshire, manufactured this ‘Mud Wagon’ Stagecoach for the light weight design, along with exterior framing, iron rockers and leather thorough braces. With the featured reinforced undercarriage and lighter body. It weight approximately 2500 pounds, it is 8 ½ feet tall and long, and is a narrow 5 foot width.
The coach was one of the originals of the Circle Route Stage line which ran from Montrose to Ouray, and then to Silverton, and Durango, The last run from Montrose was in August, 1887. In the late 1950’s, the stage was totally restored to lease to MGM for use in the movie, “Tribute to a Bad Man”. It was also used in “How the West Was Won” in 1962. The stage route was an important connection with the Silverton Railroad, where coaches could take passengers to further mining towns.
The Circle Route Stage Company began operation around 1884, and the stagecoach used six horse teams. Not only did it carry nine interior passengers, but could on short runs crowd as many as ten more passengers on top of the coach and baggage boot. To help subsidize the cost of the stage line it also delivered mail and freight along with the passengers from Montrose to Durango, where the trains could not at that time. This artifact is a rare original stagecoach that has been copied by other institutions for exhibits.
Montrose County Historical Museum
21 N Rio Grande Ave
Montrose, CO 81401