Virginia Dale Stage Station


Virginia Dale Stage, built in 1862

The Overland Trail Mail route was established in 1862 to assist passengers in avoiding Indian uprisings that were occurring on the Oregon Trail further north. It followed the Cherokee Trail until it split between LaPorte and Virginia Dale. Virginia Dale was the westerly route, eventually rejoining the Oregon Trail at Ft. Bridger, Wyoming. About 20,000 pioneers traveled the Overland Trail each year from 1862 – 1868. Indian attacks became more common as more emigrants arrived.

Virginia Dale was the most famous of the Overland Trail stage stations. The notorious stationmaster, Jack Slade, named it after his wife Virginia. Slade was reported to ride wild mustangs and shoot up the countryside when he was not drunk. He may have been responsible for a stage hold-up one mile from Virginia Dale during which $60,000.00 disappeared.

When the station was abandoned as a stage stop, settlers were attracted to the area by the streams and meadows, which were exceptional for grazing cattle. Although the original building has been preserved, the school and church are not standing.

Once the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad were joined at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869, much of the traffic was diverted from Virginia Dale.

Mark Twain added to the lore surrounding Virginia Dale in his novel, Roughing It.

You can visit this historic site by traveling 45 miles north of Ft. Collins, Colorado on Highway 287.


Outhouse from Virginia Dale Station

5 responses »

  1. Thanks Terri! I hope you received my check refund in the mail. Am at Steamboat with Leslie right now—3 days of almost spring skiing thru Friday, then Sat I head to the Gould ski scramble with friends and family for the yearly xc race. Leslie is skiing me HARD! Fun—good weather and pretty good snow—not quite like when we were here last year.


  2. Did you stop or go to the Virginia Dale Stage Station location? We stopped there once shortly after Raymond had moved to Wy. Dorothy

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