First official survey done on stage line
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
Captain W.A. Stanton, the U.S. Army's chief engineer for the department of the Platte, and his survey of the Cheyenne to Deadwood route now in use by the stage line. The new route, which has been in use since June, goes north from Hat Creek, down Old Woman Creek, follows Lance Creek, then crosses the Cheyenne River, skirts the west side of the Black Hills before turning east into the hills to Deadwood.
Other changes have also been made on the route this summer. In July the route immediately north of Fort Laramie was rerouted to go up Cottonwood Draw to Government Farm. This shortened the road to Hat Creek by about 15 miles.
The stage line company has also established two new stations between here and Fort Laramie within the last six weeks, one at Running Water (Niobrara river), and one at the Rawhide Buttes. The actual transfer of stock to these new stations was delayed several weeks due to difficulties encountered in digging wells at both locations.
Several miles were also cut off of the route by building a new road from Cold Springs to deadwood via Whitewood, Poorman's Gulch, Central City and Gayville.
The distances between the stage stops, as established by the new survey, from Cheyenne to Deadwood are:
Horse Creek, 25.66 miles, 25.66 total miles.
Phillips Chug, 22.20 miles, 47.86 total miles.
Owen's Chug Spring, 18.27 miles, 66.13 total miles.
Fort Laramie, 22.15 miles, 88.28 total miles.
Government Farm, 14.94 miles, 103.22 total miles.
Raw Hide Buttes, 13.28 miles, 116.50 total miles.
Running Water, 16.57 miles, 133.07 total miles.
Hat Creek, 14.73 miles, 147.80 total miles.
Lance Creek, 28.74 miles, 176.54 total miles.
Cheyenne River, 20.08 miles, 196.62 total miles.
Beaver Creek, 24.24 miles, 220.86 total miles.
Cold Spring, 21.75 miles, 242.61 total miles.
Whitewood, 28.18 miles, 263.79 total miles.
Deadwood P.O., 2.40 miles, 266.19 total miles.
The summit of a hill near Spring Canyon, about 230 miles from Cheyenne has an altitude of 6,509 feet. It is the highest point on the route.
With the route shortened to 266 miles and the other improvements recently made along the route, the stage line has focused its attention on cutting down traveling time. It is not uncommon for six horses, drawing a heavy coach, to average speeds of six to eight miles per hour. Stage line Superintendent Luke Voorhees has actually succeeded in reducing the traveling time between Cheyenne and Deadwood to 47 hours during good weather this summer. However the average time required is still about 51 hours.
(Information source: "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring.)