History of Butterfield Trail
The History of Butterfield Trail dates back to 1858 when the Butterfield Overland Mail Company operated for three years carrying mail and passengers across the country from Missouri to San Francisco.  More than 700 miles of the almost 2,800 mile mail route ran across the state of Texas. Part of the original trail used still runs through the Butterfield Trail golf course property today, thus providing the perfect name for our emerald gem designed by world-renown golf course architect, Tom Fazio.  

Modern travelers can still view some of the same landscapes in West Texas, and follow exact segments of the route, reaching historical markers, all while feeling some nostalgia for the historic Texas frontier.

When playing golf, you can still view remnants of the original Butterfield Trail adjacent to Hole #8 on the Butterfield Trail Golf Course.

Interesting facts about the historic Butterfield Overland Mail Route:

  • Operated from 1858-1861
  • Entire 2,800-mile run was made in 25 days - guaranteed (at an average speed of 5MPH)
  • Named after John Butterfield, president of the Butterfield Overland Mail Company
  • Heavy Concord Stage Coaches and lighter Celerity Wagons were used for rugged terrain and steep grades.
  • Two-way, semi-weekly service was provided departing from Tipton, MO and San Francisco, CA simultaneously
  • Mules were used instead of horses where Native American encounters were more likely. Native tribes did not value mules as they did horses, making attacks to mule-drawn stagecoaches less likely.
  • Coaches carried up to 10 passengers and driver at a fare of $150-$200pp for the entire trip.
  • The word "Shotgun" is derived from the passenger that sat next to the driver with a rifle to ward off potential thieves
  • Postage was just 20 cents per ounce.
  • The demise of the Butterfield Overland Mail Company is attributed to the Civil War along with political conflicts and policy differences with Butterfield's major lender, Wells Fargo.
  • Efforts after the Civil War to reestablish the original Butterfield service failed.

    For more information on the history of the Butterfield Overland Mail Company, we invite you to pick up a copy of Historic Texas Tours, A Guide for Tracing Early Routes and Trails by William J. Sheffield, Jr. Copyright 2001.  

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