Historical Details

Stagecoach Museum

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 03/12/1970

New Museum Takes Form As Historic Coach is Moved

By Pat Brewster, The Lusk Herald, March 12, 1970

Last Wednesday in the quiet of the afternoon without fanfare, what is probably the most important day in the establishment of the new museum here took place. The contents of the small museum, erected in 1935 by the Lusk Lions Club, were moved across Main Street to the new quarters (formerly the Wyoming National Guard Armory.)

The new museum became a reality last October when the armory was leased from the state by the Niobrara County Historical Society for $10 a year. After taking possession of the building November 1, 1969, many hours of hard labor, cleaning and repairing have gone into the spacious building by members of the society under the direction of Mrs. Bill (Annabelle) Hoblit, president.

The reception room is now very neat with paintings of local artists hanging on the wall. The building has living quarters for Bob Crow, caretaker, and one room is used by the Lusk Art Group as a studio. Behind the main building is another large, steel garage which is being considered for the housing of modes of western transportation.

The museum has been going by the name of the Niobrara County Museum; however, Mrs. Hoblit says no official vote has yet been taken, and there are possibilities of other names. The museum will be financed entirely by the Historical Society. No public opening date has yet been set; there still remains much work to be done.


The old museum behind the Gautschi Standard Service Station at the corner of 4th and Main was built by WPA (Works Progress Administration) labor during the depression in 1935. The Lusk Lions Club furnished the material. Down through the years the Lions Club has maintained the building. They have given permission to H.L. Gautschi to use it as a warehouse. (Additional note from The Lusk Herald, April 23, 1936: "Brands Being Put on Logs at Museum. The task of putting the various old-time cattle and horse brands on the ends of the logs at the Lusk Museum got underway this week, and after the work has been completed it will be a valuable addition to the attractiveness of the building. The work of placing brands on the logs is in charge of Hans Gautschi assisted by A.B. Mills and George Jenkins. A pattern is first made of the brand by outlining it on paper, and the brand is then chiseled into the end of the log. After the brand has been chiseled into the wood, it will be burned, then painted, so it can be seen from passing cars."

Mr. Gautschi says he does not plan to deface the outside of the building, as people enjoy its log and stone structure, and spend much time reading the old brands on the logs.


Considered by most Niobrarans as the most prized possession of the museum is the historical Cheyenne-Deadwood stage coach presented by Russell Thorp Jr. to the Lusk Lions Club on Memorial Day, May 30, 1927. It had been housed in the little museum, and Wednesday afternoon made what is hoped to be it’s final journey into a prestige position in the new museum.

Supervising the move of the old coach was Ed Cook Jr., son of the Late Ed Cook Sr., stock tender and driver of the coach. Mrs. Christina Strube, Lusk, widow of the senior Cook, says, “Many a time I rode in the old coach down through the hills over some pretty rough roads.” She added-“that coach brings back many fond memories. “

According to the Lusk-Herald Standard, June 2, 1927, presentation of the coach to he Lions was a gayla {sic} affair. Excerpts from that issue read:

“The old coach took its last trip through the streets of Lusk amid the plaudits of hundreds who gathered here for the event, and to the click of the movie camera, which reeled off several hundred feet of film. Prominent among the visitors who came to Lusk to witness the old coach on its last whirl were many who had been intimately associated with the stage line in the early days, and who could tell many experiences of the battles with road agents and Indians while hauling gold bullion and passengers between the terminus of the Union Pacific at Cheyenne and the gold fields around Deadwood.”

Mrs. Helen Strube, (nee Helen Cook), Lusk, rode on the stage that day. She took the honorary ride, in place of her father, Ed Cook, who had died the year previously.

The coach was made to order by Abbott and Downing, famous coach makers of Concord, N.H., in 1863, for use on a line in Nevada. In 1876 it was placed in service on the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Route, and when that line was abandoned in 1887 the coach was principally used on the run from Rawhide Butte station, south of Lusk, to Deadwood. After the Cheyenne-Deadwood run discontinued , the coach was put in service from Wendover to Douglas, and the final run of the coach was a run between Sundance and a point where Upton now stands.


Among displays moved from the little museum is the Sparks artifact and polished stone collection, and the Olinger artifact collection. The museum also has the old cash box and broken lock from the Cold Springs robbery; storage bins, display case and file cabinets from the old hat Creek Store; a beautiful sideboard belonging to John Wesley Wolfe; antique sewing machine, organ and bread mixer from the Ringer estate; couch and sewing machine donated by Mr. and Mrs. Merle Hahn; and many, many smaller antiques too numerous to mention. All go toward making a good museum.

Mrs. Hoblit says there is need for more household items,, in order to recreate and restore history of early homes. She also said wigs are needed for the mannequins.


Though the Historical Society was only organized July 7, 1969, it now boasts a membership of 270, with two life members, C.W. Irwin and Mrs. Harold F. (Ruth) Newton.

Memberships are still being taken and dues for the various classes are: annual members, $2.00 per year; sustaining members, $5.00 per year; contributing members, $25.00 per year and life membership is a one-time payment of $100.

Memorials received by the Society are in memory of C.A. David given by Mrs. Marialyce Tobin, and in memory of Miss Wihelmina (Winnie) Frosheiser given by Mr. and Mrs. Bill Hoblit.

Historical Society Officially Names New Museum “Stagecoach Museum”

The Lusk Herald, March 19, 1970

The Niobrara County Historical Society’s museum has now officially been named “Stagecoach Museum.”

Officials of the organization point out that the name was adopted because it was felt that the name would have more appeal to passers through. Then too, the Cheyenne-Black Hills stage which is on display in the new facility is the most prized exhibit of the museum.

The Niobrara Historical Society was organized last July and already is well along in converting the former National Guard Armory into an excellent museum. Opening date has been set for May 1, and because of the shortage of funds 50c admission per person will be charged.

At a board meeting Monday afternoon is was decided to place signs at each entrance into town, and one of the suggestions was to use old covered wagons.

At the regular meeting of the society March 9, Mrs. Gertrude Chamberlain reviewed the book “Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes” by Agnes Spring. Raymond Riley of Harrison gave the museum a 1886 silver dollar commemorating the founding of Lusk.

Mrs. Nellie Christian served refreshments following the meeting. The next meeting will be April 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Museum Will Open on Friday

The Lusk Herald, May 14, 1970

The Stagecoach Museum, Lusk, will open this Friday afternoon at 1:00. Free refreshments will be served in the reception room, but admission to see the displays will be charged.

Starting Friday the museum will be opened daily from 1:00 to 5:00 and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. provided enough volunteer help can be obtained to serve as receptionists. Any man or woman wishing to help is urged to contact Mrs. Bill Hoblit.

Opening of the museum fulfills the goal set by the Niobrara County Historical Society organized July 7, 1969. The organization obtained a lease form the state on former National Guard Armory in October and in early November began raising funds for converting the building into a museum.

March 4 the contents of the small museum, erected in 1935 and maintained by the Lusk Lions Club, were moved to the new museum. Among the contents was the historic old Cheyenne-Deadwood stagecoach for which the museum was named at a meeting of the society May 9.

The museum still has room for more displays, and the building housing modes of western transportation and implements is not yet complete. As funds are allocated more work will be done on the buildings.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Burke, Nellie (11/30/-0001 - 10/14/1957) View Record
Obituary Chamberlain, Gertrude (03/09/1907 - 05/03/1998) View Record
Obituary Strube, Christina (05/20/1885 - 12/09/1974) View Record
Obituary Strube, Helen (02/24/1906 - 03/21/1975) View Record
Obituary Thorp, Russell (07/23/1877 - 10/26/1968) View Record
Obituary Thorp, Russell (08/07/1927 - 10/27/1977) View Record
Obituary Riley, Raymond (04/07/1905 - 09/24/1984) View Record
Obituary Hahn, Merle (03/02/1927 - 10/28/2010) View Record
Obituary Thorp, Russell (10/22/1844 - 09/03/1898) View Record
Historical Quilt Squares - Wyoming National Guard Armory View Record