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Our Historic Stagecoach

This historic stagecoach is the property of Walla Walla County and is a constant reminder of the exciting and colorful days when Walla Walla was the hub of Northwest stage lines. If it were possible for this old coach to speak, it could tell many tales of bygone days.

In writing by L.K. Jones, he notes records indicate that Lewis McMorris established a stage line between Walla Walla and Lewiston in 1861 and two coaches were shipped around Cape Horn to Portland, Oregon, by steamer. They then traveled by riverboat up the Columbia River to Wallula Landing in Washington Territory and put into service that same year. These "mud wagons" were manufactured in Concord, New Hampshire by the firm of Abbott and Downing.

McMorris operated a stage line that was part of the Overland State Line, once the largest stage line in the United States. The Overland included a franchise for Walla Walla, Washington Territory and advertised that the state line could complete the trip from Lewiston to Wallula Landing in the daylight hours of one day, a journey some 100 miles. Several stops were included along the journey to change out horses; however, a six-horse hitch was used to travel long uphill intervals, while a pair was used on the downhill intervals.

McMorris removed his stagecoaches from service between 1900-1904 and stored two of them in the shed behind his home in Walla Walla. After his death in 1915, his sons donated the coaches; one is now displayed at Fort walla Walla Museum and the other at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds.

In 1958, a few Walla Walla gentlemen organized to recondition the stagecoach owned by Walla Walla County for operation as a means of promoting community activities in area parades, fairs and rodeos. This group became known as teh Walla Walla 59ers, and this organization holds the last official permit to carry the US Mail by stagecoach. In 2015, this same stagecoach was restored to its original glory in honor of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Walla Walla County Fair, still sporting the red and yellow of the Overland State Company.
Special stagecoach drive during Frontier Days, 1913.
Farmerettes mounting the stagecoach, 1953.
Stagecoach in the WW Fair & Frontier Days Parade 1973
Walla Walla County Stagecoach restored for the Sesquicentennial, 2016.
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