San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Sunday, November 1, 1857  

Paper: Daily Globe (San Francisco, CA)   v3 issue 121 pg 3

The earliest stagecoaches in San Mateo County were mudwagons.  They were able to travel more easily on rough muddy roads than heavier coaches. 

Hanson Wheel and Wagon Shop
Mudwagon reproduction 

Until January 1864, when the Peninsular Line was completed between San Francisco and San Jose, stages ran along the El Camino Real.  At that time, stages were still the means of transportation from the train stations to outlying areas, including to the coast.  

In the 1860's and 70's, stage roads were built to connect Redwood City and San Mateo with the coastal communities at Half Moon Bay, Purisima, San Gregorio and Pescadero.  Besides providing transportation, communication and freight service for residents, the stage roads brought tourists to the South Coast to fish, camp, and enjoy the beach and forests.

As the roads in the county improved Concord coaches were introduced to the routes.

Concord Coach
Concord Historical Society

Eventually other modes of transportation developed within the county.  By 1893 a street car from San Francisco had reached Baden (South San Francisco), allowing easier movement by the middle class. In 1900 the San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway Company was granted the first franchise within the City of San Mateo with the caveat they would pay 2% of the gross to the city and pave the street between the tracks.  The line was sold within a year, extended further down the peninsula and eventually started running about 1906.  With streetcars and shortly after cars, the days of the stagecoach ended.

If you would like to know more about stagecoaches, see a sample, and take a simulated ride, visit the Wells Fargo Museum in San Francisco.  A short walk from the Montgomery Bart Station, it is well worth the effort.  There are two additional museums in Sacramento if you are up that direction.

Stagecoaches and Mudwagons - Smithsonian Postal Museum
Stage Styles: Not All Were Coaches - CA Parks Dept
National Stagecoach and Freight Wagon Association
Stagecoach Terms and Slang - Legends of America
Mudwagon - You Tube
Transportation in San Mateo County - La Peninsula Summer 2007 SMCHA

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