History of the Old Wire Road Stage Stop and Inn.
The Butterfield Stage and Mail Route.
In 1836 the old trail was opened through southwest Missouri from the town of Versailles to what is now known as Benton County, Arkansas. In 1839 several other roads were built connecting St. Louis with Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was that road from St. Louis to Fayetteville that become known as the first Old Wire Road.
But the Old Wire Road was not a single route. It existed much earlier than the telegraph and assumed a new name when the telegraph came through. As the telegraph lines pushed southward along the old Indian hunting trails, each way station stop had a story to tell, tales of haunted Indian burial grounds, huge vicious panthers and bears, and of course, birthed the Arkansas legend of snipe hunts.
In 1846 Joseph Burdin won a federal contract to carry mail by two horse stage from Springfield, MO to Fayetteville, AR. In 1857 John Butterfield of New York won the mail delivery contract to provide mail service from Tipton, MO to Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA.
Tipton, Missouri was the beginning of the 2,800 mile trip to San Francisco, chosen because is was the end of the railroad line from St. Louis. The Butterfield Mail Route would pass through Springfield and Greene County. The first stage stopped at Springfield's public square on September 17, l858 where they had a celebration. Twenty three days later the eastbound stage arrived at Springfield.
Settlers then knew that road as the Springfield Road, currently highway 44, originally famous route 66.
Other names for the road:
Osage Trace a trail used for generations by migrating Indians.
The Osage moved south during summer months for hunting, then north during winter)
Wilson's Creek was an area dominated by Osage until about 1812, then Kickapoo and Delaware's until about 1830. All tribes had moved, or been driven west by 1832.
The Fayetteville Road (originally a trail laid out in 1836 between Versailles, Missouri and Fayetteville, Arkansas) (referred to by those in Arkansas as the "Springfield Road"). During this time period, "roads" were usually named by the locals by the next large town.
The Butterfield Overland Mail Route (1858 to 1861 mail by train to Tipton, Missouri, then south along Fayetteville Road to Fort Smith - part of 2,800 mile trip to San Francisco, California) <route map and Missouri's stations listed below>
The Military Road (18612865 Springfield became military depot - road used as main avenue for supply and troops south )
The Telegraph Road (telegraph arrived in Springfield in 1860 and extended to Fort Smith during Civil War)
The Old Wire Road (after automobile's made paved roads a necessity, the old trail would be forever known as the "Old Wire Road")
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