Stage Coach Inn
The Stage Coach Inn is a magnificent, two-story structure made of hand-hewn timbers. Many are 18 inches thick. It was moved to its present site from Mosquito Pass. There, it served as a halfway house for the stagecoach lines operating between Fairplay and Leadville during the late 1800’s. Mr. Snyder had seen this building many times on his trips to the mountains and knew it would be perfect for South Park City. But how could this enormous, yet sturdy building that rested in the snow banks on a pass 13,180 feet high, be moved? Just the idea of moving this building intact seemed impossible, but Mr. Snyder, along with other volunteers from Fairplay and the surround area, would get the job done.
The trail leading to the Inn was overgrown and strewn with rocks. It was difficult to visualize the many stagecoaches that traveled this route daily covering a distance of 23 miles from Fairplay to Leadville.
Once the building was off its foundation and ready to be trucked down the mountainside, the trail had to be cleared. A bulldozer was used to widen the road and push the rocks aside. Marshy areas were filled in. Twice, the huge inn faced disaster by sliding off the flat bed as the truck snaked its way along precipes with drops of 1000 feet. The expert hauling was done by Mr. C.W. Howard of Colorado Springs with such skill that most of the original chinking between the logs was kept intact.
The Inn is furnished with authentic pioneer articles that were used in the remote mountain inns of that period. A long wooden table, set to feed the stagecoach passengers, makes one feel the stage is about to arrive. The large cast iron cook stove in the corner and a cabinet with dishes and cooking utensils provides a homey feeling. Old trunks wait to be loaded on the stage and a handmade cribbage board longs for players. A steep, narrow, wooden staircase leads to an upstairs hall that divides the building in half. This is the sleeping area; a Spartan arrangement composed of a bed, pitcher and basin, boot remover, foot warmer and an antler attached to the wall for hanging clothes. A unique double-wicked oil lamp made from an old sorghum can awaits lighting. It was used at the first polling place in Alma. The other side of the building was an open room where a traveler could sleep on the floor instead of a bed. It was not a very comfortable way to spend the night after a long and hard day’s journey. In those days meals and lodging in Fairplay cost $3.00. Meals at this famous Inn cost $.50. When leaving the Stage Coach Inn one wonders what those early pioneers would think of our luxurious and comfortable hotels of today.