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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

STAGE COACH ROUTES IN NORTHERN OHIO

STAGE COACH ROUTES IN NORTHERN OHIO

STAGE COACH ROUTES IN NORTHERN OHIO provided overland passenger travel beginning in 1809, when an early stage route was maintained from Cleveland to Painesville following the old lake shore Indian trail. A regular weekly stage to Painesville began in 1818, carrying mail and passengers in a springless wagon for the bumpy 18-hour ride. In 1820 stage coach travel south of Cleveland began, with service to Columbus, Norwalk, and soon thereafter to Pittsburgh. By 1826 a daily trip to Erie, PA, 104 miles away, was made by a 4-horse mail and passenger coach, which took 16 hours, barring breakdowns, and cost $3. As stagecoach travel became more popular, regular schedules were set up. In the 1830s daily runs to and from Pittsburgh were scheduled on 3 competing lines. The Pioneer Stage Co.'s 30-hour trip to Pittsburgh traveled to Wellsville on the Ohio River, where passengers boarded a flatboat to their destination. In Pittsburgh they could make connections to Philadelphia, New York, and Washington. There also were daily schedules to Buffalo via Erie, and Detroit via Toledo, and every other day the stage went to Columbus and Cincinnati. Cleveland's Franklin House was headquarters for the various lines. Although stagecoaches remained the principal means of travel in the 1840s, a decade later the railroads reached Cleveland, shortening travel time to their major destinations. As a result, stagecoaches were consigned to obscure mail routes between railroad towns until they gradually died out.