St. Louis, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Henry Wells, William Fargo, and John Butterfield capitalized on the country's rapid westward expansion. In the 1850s, they built an express stagecoach delivery service between St. Louis and California. A few years later in 1857, Butterfield started the Overland Mail Company after he won a government contract to deliver US mail between St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, California. Their success reinforced St. Louis as the gateway to the west.
Every week the Overland Mail Company sent stagecoaches on a 2,812-mile journey to deliver mail to California in 25 days or less.
Wells, Fargo, and Butterfield were partners in the American Express Company and Wells, Fargo & Company, providing express travel and banking services from here westward.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Butterfield Overland Mail marker series.
Location. 38° 37.616′ N, 90° 11.05′ W. Marker is in St. Louis, Missouri. Marker can be reached from Walnut Street east Touch for map. Marker is located on the Gateway Arch trail, a couple of hundred feet north of the Arch, in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Louis MO 63102, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Curves Ahead (here, next to this marker); Gateway to the West (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Captains' Return (about 400 feet away); Miles of Steamboats (about 500 feet away); The Gateway Arch (about 600 feet away); Pierre Laclede (about 600 feet away); Rock Solid (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lewis and Clark and St. Louis Riverfront (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Louis.
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
Also see . . .
1. John Butterfield: Stage Driver, transportation pioneer. John Butterfield got his start driving a stage in upstate New York. He entered the express business, and teamed up with Henry Wells and William G. Fargo to found the American Express Company in 1850. In 1858, Butterfield joined again with Wells, Fargo, and others to form the Overland Mail Company. Known as the (Submitted on August 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Stagecoach Era. National growth demanded faster communication. Wells Fargo's growth required owning and operating a reliable stagecoach system. Wells Fargo and other express companies formed the Overland Mail Company to serve these needs. The Overland’s twice-a-week mail runs between St. Louis and San Francisco were much faster than steamship. (Submitted on August 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Southern Overland Mail Company. The company operated a 25-day, semiweekly stagecoach run along a route from St. Louis, Mo., through El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, New Mexico Territory, to San Francisco. With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the southern route was abandoned, and the government contract was awarded to the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express, which operated through Salt Lake City, Utah. The Central Overland was purchased in 1862 by Ben Holladay, and the Holladay Overland Stage Company was sold to Wells, Fargo and Company in 1866. The company’s stagecoach operations were maintained until the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. (Submitted on August 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
4. John Butterfield & the Overland Mail Company. As scheduled, mail started from each end of the 2,800 mile-long stretch on September 16, 1858. The passenger fair was $200. The first westbound trip was made in about 24 days. Travelers were in motion day and night, stopping only for meals and to switch out stock or equipment at stations placed from 9-60 miles apart. On approaching a station, the conductor would blow a horn so fresh mules or horses would be ready and waiting. (Submitted on August 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Communications • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on October 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Last updated on October 15, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.