The National Crafts & Cowboy Festival marks the homecoming of the historic Silver Dollar City Stagecoach, an authentic 1880s stagecoach that was part of the Overland Stage Line carrying mail and passengers out West before it became one of the first rides at Silver Dollar City in the early 1960s. The restored coach, that has lived through three centuries, is an artifact of American and Silver Dollar City history. See it in the Red Gold Courtyard with Cowboy Rick Hamby.
The Journey Stagecoach of Three Centuries
He is five & already a cowboy. His family, from the West Plains, Missouri area, brings him to Silver Dollar City in 1964 where he spots a historic 84-year-old stagecoach. His eyes grow wider… little could he imagine he would someday seek and own that very stagecoach and take it on epic journeys, delivering children’s letters from state to state. Half a century later, a boy’s dream comes full circle, as Cowboy Rick Hamby brings his stagecoach home to Silver Dollar City.
The Journey Stagecoach was originally built in 1880 by a coach company in New Hampshire, and was sent west to work on the Overland Stage Lines carrying passengers and mail. It was retired in southern Arizona in 1905. It was stored until 1955, then purchased and used by a New York theme park for five years.
In 1960, the Herschend Family, founders of Silver Dollar City, purchased the coach, another coach and Henry Ford’s steam train. They were all put to work as the legendary Silver Dollar Line until their retirement in the 1970s. Thousands of guests rode in this authentic stagecoach during that time. The Journey Stagecoach was then used as decor for Silver Dollar City until it was sold to a blacksmith from Arkansas.
In 1998, Cowboy Rick Hamby, searching the Ozarks for stage parts & pieces, discovered the historic old coach in tall weeds behind a barn in Clarkridge, Arkansas. While in bad shape, it still had its Silver Dollar City door and even the metal “inventory control tag” – proving its authenticity. Cowboy Rick Hamby purchased it and restored it, using as much of the original wood and metal as possible.
In 2001, The Journey Stagecoach began its new career with what has become the Hambys’ signature children’s pen pal program, delivering mail from children in Missouri to children in Arizona, completing the first Missouri-to-Arizona overland mail run by stagecoach in over 120 years. Since 2001, The Journey Stagecoach has created thousands of pen pals, touching the hearts of children in multiple states, and has completed eight long distance runs, including The Last Stage to Matador, TX, May 2016.