As It Might have been: California Stations Improve Stage Travel


An incessant halting spot during the 1800s for travelers moving north into Trinity and Siskiyou districts was situated at Cottonwood, Calif., between Red Bluff and Old Shasta. Among the travelers were cargo and wanderer wagons, pack trains, foot explorers, and diggers.

Most emigrant wagon trains picked the Noble’s Road course, leaving the Oregon-California Trail by means of the Humboldt Sink at the Lassen Meadow cutoff, at that point on to Honey Lake Valley, and proceeding with north of Manzanita Lake toward Cottonwood. By 1850, there was a crude street between Red Bluff and Shasta, while the streets south of Red Bluff to Marysville were in much better shape.

Stations along the route provided resting places. With steamboats unloading freight at focuses along the Sacramento River, the stations were advantageously separated to oblige pack prepares and freight wagons. The five stations between Red Bluff and Cottonwood were named Two Mile House, Four Mile House, Nine Mile House, Prairie House, and Taylor’s Ranch.

From the well known Prairie House, the street slowed down toward the Taylor Ranch and after that to the Clanton Brothers’ station, set up in 1849.

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