Overland Mail 150th Anniversary 1857 to 2007
Linking the United States with the California Frontier
The San Diego Herald Newspaper proclaimed the First Transcontinental Mail Delivery " the most important event which has ever occurred in the annals of San Diego, and undoubtedly constitutes an epoch in the Pacific Coast of the Union, which will be recorded and remembered with just pride, long after the mails will have been transported on the great continental railroad the first rail of which may be thus said to have been laid." (San Diego Herald September 5, 1857)
In 2007, several agencies in the southland
had events to commemorate and memorialize the 1857
completion of the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line
(SA&SD). The SA&SD was the first intercontinental
communication link, joining the newly-won western
territories with the Midwest and East Coast of the United
States. The SA&SD blazed the trail for the Butterfield
Stage route that replaced it in 1858. Several
equestrian-focused reenactments happen along the
SA&SD mail line and official celebration of the arrival of
the first mail takes took place on August 31, 2007 in Old
Town San Diego SHP.
Five historic stage stations related both to the San Antonio & San Diego Mail Line and Butterfield Stage Route had special activities in conjunction with our 150th anniversary of the completion of the first Transcontinental Mail Line:
1) Carrizo Creek Stage Station is in State Parks' Colorado Desert District (CDD) and was the subject of State Parks archaeological excavations conducted from 2000 to 2003. A driving and hiking tour visited the station in February 2007. Use this link to learn more about Carrizo Creek Stage Station.
2) Vallecito Stage Station is in the midst of the CDD, however is located on San Diego County Parks property. Use this link to go to the San Diego County Vallecito website for more historical information or view San Diego County's Historical Treasures (pdf 750 kb) presentation. General information on the mail route is available from the California Trails Association.
3) Warner's Ranch Stage Station is located on Vista Irrigation District property and was visited during a driving tour in February 2007. For more history on Warner's Ranch use this link to the Library of Congress website and search on Warner Ranch. More information is available at the San Diego History website.
4) Oak Grove Stage Station was a stop on the Butterfield State Route and is located immediately adjacent to National Forest Land and on private property. This station was a stop on a June 2007 Driving Tour. For more information on Oak Grove go to the NPS Oak Grove/Butterfield Station website.
5) Little Temecula Rancho Stage Station was also a stop on the Butterfield Stage Route. The actual station location is under modern construction, but historic Vail Ranch across the street was the end stop for the June 2007 Driving Tour. The portion of the driving tour was coordinated with Temecula Valley Historical Society and Vail Ranch. Plans included a visit to the "Wolfe Store" in Temecula. Use this link for more Temecula Rancho information.
In early August 2007, a driving tour to other stage stations sites in West San Diego County was held. These sites include: Santa Maria and Penaquitos.
Routes of the San Antonio and San Diego and
Butterfield Overland Mail Lines
Overland Mail Routes Between Fort Yuma, San Diego
The San Antonio & San Diego Mail / Butterfield Stage
crosses some 35 miles of the Anza-Borrego Desert
State Parklands. Today, driving on paved
roads, the park visitor can easily experience vast areas of
the Anza-Borrego Desert that in earlier decades were only
accessible by foot or on horseback. Commuters regularly
travel between Yuma, Arizona and San Diego, California, a
trip of less than 8 hours and of no particular hardship. In
the nineteenth century, however, such a journey took many
days and without proper planning, could be quite dangerous.