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The Story of the Concord Coach

No web site about Concord, municipal, genealogical, or otherwise, would be complete without a mention of the well known Concord Coach.  This product literally was the sum total of the transportation system in the early days of the West.   You have seen them many times in movies, books, and pictures.

This Overland web site makes interesting reading. Here is the first part of the story. The stage coaches Ben Holladay used for the Overland Trail Stage Route were built by the bot-Downing Company in Concord, New Hampshire. At a cost of $1050 each, these one ton   "Concord Coaches" were the finest road vehicle of its time--it was a supreme achievement of American stagecoach building. Without a doubt, it was the finest coach the world has ever known. In 1864, Holladay sent in a single order for twenty-nine Concord Coaches. The wheels were made of seasoned white oak, well dried to withstand the heat and the cold, and were masterpieces themselves. Other coach wheels would shrink or warp in the changing weather conditions out West. But not the Concord wheels. The spokes were all hand made and fitted to the rim and the hub so carefully that one could not see where they joined.
Read an interesting and  complete story at

 Concord Stage.jpg (15891 bytes) The body of the coaches were solidly built,
strengthened with iron bands and rested on
robust three inch thick oxen-leather
through-braces. The purpose of the
through-braces, was not, as is often reported,
to ease the ride of the passengers. They were
installed to prevent injury to the horses, which
were much more valuable to the stage line
than any passenger. Even though the
through-braces did act like a hammock to
support the coach, many a passenger, after the
long ride, described their travels as "Cruel and
unusual punishment."

Concord is also famous as the home of the Concord Coach. In 1827 Lewis Downing, a wheelwright, and J. Stephen Abbot, a journeyman coach builder, completed the first Concord Coach. Together they manufactured 40 styles of commercial and pleasure vehicles as well as 14 styles of Concord Coach. The coaches were brightly colored with elaborate trim and yellow gear. Over the next century the company produced 3,000 coaches, each weighing some 2,400 pounds costing between $775-$1,250. Concord Coaches, used by Wells Fargo, opened the American West.

Some of our ancestors may have driven them, owned them, maintained them, or operated hotels where the stages stopped.   These Coaches are interfaced with our history in any number of ways.    Some examples of these still exist today that are still in working condition   and are used in Parades or special events. Others can be found in Museums. 

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