Moving people and U.S. mail was an amazing undertaking back then. The need was great and. John Butterfield, Sr. and his Butterfield Overland Stage Company proved it could be done. The route started in St. Louis and passed through Benton, Washington, Crawford and Sebastian Counties in Arkansas. At Ft. Smith, Arkansas it turned southwest through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and onward to Los Angeles, California where it turned north to San Francisco.
Mr. Butterfield lived for a time in Fayetteville and built major stables for the company in Fayetteville. Remnants of the original Butterfield Trail are adjacent to the 8th hole at Butterfield Trail Golf Course in Texas. I know of one roadside marker in Springdale commemorating the Butterfield Trail and it is located appropriately on the corner of Butterfield Coach Road and US Hwy. 412. And there is a well in the back yard of a residence in Fayetteville where supposedly where the stagecoach used to stop for refreshment (I used to live across the street).
Now the National Park Service is studying whether to include the route as a National Historic Trail. It certainly qualifies in my mind.
If you care to comment on the subject, you may do so by May 18, 2012 by contacting:
Outdoor Recreation Planner
National Park Service
National Trails Intermountain Region
P.O. Box 728
Santa Fe, NM 87504
If you prefer, you may comment online at the National Park Service Public Comment and Planning website.
For more information:
National Park Service Information on Butterfield Trail
Butterfield Trail Golf Course in Texas