In 19th Century America, stagecoaches and wagons traveled along the Overland Trail, also known as the Overland Stage Line. While the line had previously been used by trappers and explorers as early as the 1820s and played its part in the Gold Rush of 1848, the Overland Trail saw its most heavy activity in the 1860s when it became an alternate route for pioneers heading to Oregon, California, and central Wyoming. The path was also famously used by the Overland Stage Company to carry mail and passengers via stagecoach to Salt Lake City, Utah under the ownership of Ben Holladay. The trail ran from Atchison, Kansas into Colorado, through Wyoming, and at Fort Bridger rejoined the Oregon Trail. The Overland Trail remained in operation until 1869, the year the First Transcontinental Railroad began operation; the railroad largely eliminated the need for stagecoaches in mail delivery along the Trail.
However, in 1857 the United States Post Office began searching for bids to run a “southern route” for the mail that would run from Memphis through New Mexico and Arizona and end in San Francisco. The Butterfield Overland Mail Company won the bid and became the mail distributor along the southern route until the Civil War in 1861.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Company made 2 trips each week over a 2½ year period with each trip between the two points taking about 25 days. At one point, the Company employed more than 800 individuals with 250 Concord Stagecoaches in service.
In the spring of 1860, due to the debt owed to Wells Fargo, John Butterfield was forced to sell and the Butterfield Overland Mail Company assets, along with the assets of the Pony Express, were enveloped into the Wells Fargo company.
The cowboys and the pioneers that blazed a trail through the wild west embodied the grit and determination that it took to brave those trails. Moved by the bravery and pioneer spirit of those traveling along these trails via stagecoach, sculptor Laran Ghiglieri decided to collaborate on this piece, “Stage Coach Gold,” to encapsulate the adventurous spirit of these stagecoach drivers. Before embarking on its creation, Ghiglieri underwent months of research and used the original Concord Stage Company blueprints for the stagecoaches.
Ghiglieri spent the past year on this handmade bronze sculpture and its 3000 original individual pieces, making the piece one of the most detailed of its kind on the globe. The original work was cast using the traditional process of “Lost Wax Casting,” and the replications are cast using extremely precise forging techniques and the highest quality bronze with hand-applied details that bring the entire work to life.
The Stage Coach Gold piece weighs in at 350 pounds, and every inch of the 27”x15”x72” sculpture was hand-crafted and patina finished.