Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26, 2007
I called Bruce Dinges at the Arizona Historical Society down in Tucson to find out about the three-seated stagecoach they have on display and got this reply:

"Here's the response I received from Laraine Daly Jones, our curator. I took a look at the coach. It would be tough to photograph the interior."

"No, we have no interior images of our stagecoach but I have a description of
what the interior seating should have been like vs what ours is now,
courtesy of Tom Peterson.

"First, they were known as 'Nine Passenger Coaches', with 3 riders each on
the two end seats and 3 more on the center bench seat. The upholstery behind
the end seats and the top liner was made of a brocade fabric. The wood bench
seat in the center was covered with tufted leather, unlike ours is now.
Missing from ours, is the back support strap for people on the bench seat,
which hung from the ceiling and conected to sockets in the doors. Tom says
they are the first thing lost off the stagecoaches. Riders sitting on the
center bench would have to interlock their knees with the people seated on
the end facing them, because there was insufficient space to do otherwise.

"Henry Ford Museum and the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry are supposed
to have coaches similar to ours; they may have mor faithful interior
restorations and/or photos.

"Furthermore, the coaches often had extra riders, 3 on top facing the rear
with their feet hanging over the 'boot', and 3 more on a seat behind the
driver, with feet on the back of the driver's seat. Next to the driver sat
the mesenger ('shot gun'), and possibly one more person. Am image of a
packed coach is supposed to be in "Arizona Territory Illustrated" 1884 and a
line art version used on an AHS Journal cover in the mid to late 1970s. A
verbal description of a bumpy ride from Phoenix to Prescott in a snowstorm,
1880s, can be found in a manuscipt at AHS, collection name uncertain at the
moment. Tom used a shortened version of it in his thesis, also in AHS
collection under "Theses".

"Sorry, I can't provide a photo. However, researchers are welcome to come and
look and take their own. I can't guarantee any great quality, due to angle
and low light levels, but if Bob wants to make an appointment, maybe we can
help him obtain a useable image."
—LDj, Museum Collections Manager, Arizona Historical Society, Southern Division

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