Stagecoach takes short trip to its new home
The Relay Station stagecoach is gone, but it didn’t go far.Skyline Ranch & Kennels co-owner Martha Collison recently bought the stagecoach, one of Highway 82’s best-known landmarks, and she’s keeping it in the Roaring Fork Valley.”I always wanted a stagecoach, and I’d like to restore it,” Collison said.The question of who would buy the stagecoach, and whether it would remain in the area, surfaced after Relay Station owner Phil Henke ran classified ads announcing its sale.The stagecoach, a replica of a rare Abbot-Downing version, sat under a gazebo-like structure in front of the Relay Station outside Carbondale since the 1960s. Through the years, hundreds of locals and tourists had their pictures taken with it.”I’ve seen that many, many times,” Henke said.With its leather mail “boot” at the rear, leather straps below the driver’s seat, metal railings around the top, metal-rimmed wheels, long brake handle, and “Overland Stage Line” stenciled about the doors, the faded red stagecoach looks like the ones that roll down dusty Main Streets in Hollywood westerns.But commuters and locals recently noticed the Relay Station gazebo was empty, and the distinctive stagecoach was gone.Collison’s Skyline Ranch & Kennels sits on a perch on White Hill overlooking Carbondale, about a mile to the south of the Relay Station as the crow flies. Collison said a lot of people visit the 42-acre ranch when they come out to board their horses, dogs and other animals.”Preschoolers come out too … they can have their pictures taken and learn a little bit about history,” Collison said.Collison said her cousin, Bob Long, will probably help her restore the wagon. “He’s a good woodworker, and I’m a good boss,” she said.The stagecoach joins other wagons that Collison owns, including a spring wagon, a single draw carriage, and a recently acquired doctor’s buggy, which she found at Winter Eagle Ranch north of Carbondale.Collison, who owns Skyline Ranch with partner Darlyne Woodward, bought the spread in 1995 after owning the Redstone General Store for several years.Collison said she has driven teams of horses hitched to wagons before, and Redstone residents will remember her Newton grain wagon from Fourth of July parades.So will the Relay Station’s stagecoach ever roll down Main Street in Carbondale’s annual Potato Day parade?”I’m sure we will,” Collison said, “but I’m not sure when it’ll be done.”
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