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Stage Takes Three Days to Reach Oregon Coast from Grants Pass

In the early 1900s, Gladys Miller Payne of Jackson County, Ore., often traveled to the Northern California Coast.  The trip took three days and seven fresh teams of horses from her Evans Creek home.  First, she went to Grants Pass, where she boarded the Concord stage pulled by four horses following roughly the course of today’s U.S. Hwy 199.  

The Concord stage headed southwest from Grants Pass through the Applegate and Illinois valleys and up Hays Hill to Love Station near Selma for a fresh team of horses. At Kerby the horses were changed again, and the stage stopped overnight at the Waldo Hotel.
The next morning the stage continued to Stony Corral at the base of Oregon Mountain and acquired a fourth set of horses.  Patrick Creek offered a meal stop and new horses that got the stage to Crescent City, Calif., for an overnight stay and another fresh horse team.
The coach reached Smith River for dinner, and the final horse team got them to Harbor, their destination on the Chetco River.
Miller Payne faced more “furrowed gullies, rutted and rough potholed surfaces, steep mountain passes, and narrow gorges” on the return trip.

Sources:  Adams, Mike. Chetco. Brookings, Ore.: Chetco Valley Historical Society, 2011. 

Shirley Nelson moved to Port Orford on Oregon's South Coast, after having lived 28 years in Medford.  A writer since childhood, she became an elementary school teacher.  As an interested observer of her new environment, Shirley learned the history of Curry and Coos counties. She published a book in 2005 about Coos and Curry counties titled What Happened Here?.  Nelson has published articles and poetry in several magazines, including Oregon Coast.