Geography of Denton County Page: 7
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and a glance at some of the maps of Texas will show
these old forts, as Fort Belknap, Fort Phantom Hill,
Fort Griffith, and others. The Butterfield Trail was
sometimes referred to as the California Trail, the
Overland Mail, the Southern Pacific, Overland Mail
and Stage, but the Butterfield name was most com-
monly used. One of the main streets in the town of
Gainesville today, an east-west highway, is called Cal-
ifornia Street, as this street was used by the old coaches.
There were in use during the entire life of the road
over one hundred stage coaches, one thousand horses,
five hundred mules, one hundred fifty drivers, and five
hundred men. The coaches were made in Concord,
Massachusetts, and as the months passed the capacity
of the coach increased. At first there was room for
only four passengers, their baggage, and six hundred
pounds of mail. Later on, larger coaches made the
trip. Most of the time four horses pulled the mail
coach, but whenever it became necessary additional
horses were hitched to the coach. In the western part
of Texas horses were exchanged for mules. Before the
Butterfield Trail was established it cost forty cents to
send a letter to California by way of Panama. It is
said our government paid sixty dollars per letter via
the Butterfield Stage Line, but the stage route had far
greater significance than a means of carrying mail. It
greatly encouraged settlement in the southwest; it laid
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Cowling, Mary Jo. Geography of Denton County, book, 1936; Dallas, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth90885/m1/20/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.