This stagecoach was once owned by Henry James “Hank” Monk, whose escapades have made it possibly the most famous Western American stagecoach. Monk ran great quantities of gold before railroad times, as well as passengers such as Horace Greeley, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, Prince Alexander of Russia (to a Bill Cody buffalo hunt), and President Rutherford B. Hayes.
The stagecoach was built between 1850 and 1860 by the Abbot-Downing Company of Concord, New Hampshire. Their Concord coach design, first built in 1827, was unique for its time because of its suspension system’s use of thorough-braces. The thorough-brace gave the vehicle a backward and forward motion instead of the harsher up and down movement from a conventional spring suspension.
Stout oak was used for the frame and body, and the wheels were made of ash. The coach body is appropriately worn and rough. This six-passenger overland coach is also known as an “open coach” or “mud wagon” due to the fact that there are no doors, only roll-down curtain sides.
In 2000, the DeMoss Stagecoach moved to the High Desert Museum on loan, and it then became a permanent part of the collection in 2005. The coach’s condition reflects 70 years of hard continuous use yet the undercarriage is in remarkably sound condition. The original headliner and curtains remain, and even the original driver’s seat cushion remains.
Admire this authentic coach by the entrance to the Schnitzer Entrance Hall.