Old Bridger stagecoach station moves location

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, May 16, 2019

Photo by Patricia Zachary Grabow
Members of the Bridger Historical Society and volunteers preparing the old stage coach building for removal.

Photo by Alastair Baker
Patricia Zachary Grabow stands before the Bridger Stage Coach Station. Grabow’s grandfather, Baxter Zachery, met his third wife, Evelyn, when she alighted from the stage coach, and he said “I am going to marry that woman.” Baxter owned the first building in Bridger, a saloon, where Calamity Jane babysat his children from his first marriage and from where he threw Wild Bill Cody out three times.

Photo by Patricia Zachary Grabow
The Bridger Stage Coach Station at its new home in Jim Bridger Park.

Courtesy Dana Zier
An ad for the Bridger Stage Coach from the Red Lodge Picket Journal, Aug. 22, 1902.

Photo courtesy of Patricia Zachary Grabow
Patricia Zachary Grabow's grandparents Baxter and Evelyn Zachery.

Bridger’s Stage Coach Station made a final journey itself last Saturday. Members of the Bridger Historical Society and many volunteers, including high school students, heaved the small building from its foundation at the corner of S. 2nd St and W. Sunnyside Ave., and placed it in the Jim Bridger Park, across the road.

Paul Perry owns the lot and is donating the cabin to the city.   

The old building will be restored to its original look with lodge pine logs to replace the white siding that also hides the original door to the structure. 

History about the coach station is vague although according to Bridger Historical Society President Dana Zier it was built after the land was purchased from the Crow Indians in 1895 and by 1899 a coach station was owned and operated by Charles (Curly) Heatherington and his wife, Grace. 

Heatherington also owned a livery stable, a bar and a house.  

Zier suggests the coach master may have also lived at the station and even later, Calamity Jane roomed there at one point. 

It is believed the stagecoach operated to Red Lodge, Gebo, Fromberg and Joliet. It is known that on occasions Buffalo Bill and Jeremiah Johnson would get off the train at Bridger and climb aboard the stage to get them to Red Lodge and then on to Chance, located straight south on the Wyoming border.

At one time there were 8 stage routes coming out of Bridger; Bridger to Fromberg/Gebo; Bridger to Pryor; Bridger to Red Lodge; Bridger to Chance. 

A Mr. Rife owned and operated a stagecoach venture in East Bridger as well.

According to the Red Lodge Picket from Aug. 22, 1902 the fare from Bridger to Red Lodge one way was $2.50. 

One of the Stage drivers was Jack Hash, who drove a route from Bridger to Basin City, Wyoming, three times a week.  Another was John Henderson Darrow, who was a driver from Dry Creek Bridger area.  He drove a stage to Yellowstone and tended bar at the Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge. Please turn to page 9 for more photos.


Upcoming Events

  • Monday, May 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, May 24, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, May 27, 2019 - 7:00am
    *American Legion Carbon County Post 17 Memorial Day schedule, May 27 7 a.m. Breakfast at Red Lodge Café 8:30 a.m. Memorial Service at Belfry Cemetery 9:30 a.m. Memorial Service at Bearcreek Cemetery 10:30 a.m. Parade through Red Lodge.  10:15 a.m. Meet at the corner of 14th and Broadway. Following parade there will be a lunch  at the Red Lodge Elk’s Lodge 11 a.m. Memorial Service at Red Lodge Cemetery 1:30 p.m. Parade in Roberts followed by Memorial Service at Roberts Cemetery. For further information contact Kenneth Beggs, Commander Carbon County Post 17 at kenbeggs42@yahoo.com   *The Clarks Fork American Legion Post 71 and the Joliet VFW Post 5748 will be doing Memorial Day services Monday, May 27. Rev. Robert Reed of the Joliet Baptist  Church will be the Speaker of the day.   The schedule for the day will be: 9 a.m. Services at the Gebo Cemetery. 9:30 a.m. March through Fromberg Main St. 10 a.m.   Services at Rockvale Cemetery 11 a.m. Services at Joliet Cemetery 11:30 a.m. March through Joliet Main St. A potluck lunch will be held at the  Joliet Community Center following the services.  Everyone is welcome to come. Any veterans who would like to help who haven’t been contacted can show up at the Gebo Cemetery at 8:45 a.m. Memorial Day or call Rich Pierce at 962-3320 or Jody Stene 962-3779.  

The Carbon County News

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11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

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