(from the California
Stagecoaching on the California Coast:
The Coast Line Stage from Los Angeles to San Juan
By Maury Hoag
(Fithian Press, PO Box 1525, Santa Barbara, CA 93102, 2001, 107 pages,
paperback, $12.95, ISBN 156474353-5)
Reviewed by Robert J. Chandler
Senior Historian, Wells Fargo and Co.
Maury Hoag, a Long Beach Realtor, misses his former Santa Barbara County
home. Not only is he active in the Lompoc Valley Historical Society, but his
business carries the name "Bixby Knolls Realty." Rancho owners Flint Bixby &
Company were proprietors of the Coast Line Stage Company.
In 1861, the Civil War ended the Overland Mail Company's stagecoaching along
an interior California route by way of Visalia between San Francisco and Los
Angeles. In 1862, entrepreneurs linked the two cities by stagecoaches
churning the dust of the famed El Camino Real. Several former missions
became stagecoach stops.
In this breezy account, Hoag lovingly takes readers stop by stop from Los
Angeles north to San Juan Bautista, describing facilities available,
eccentric station keepers and the current fate of the sites. As the Southern
Pacific and other railroads built south from the north and north from the
south, stagecoaching diminished and ceased along the main line in 1904. In
1911, when Felix Mattei no longer ran stages between his tavern at Los
Olivos and Gaviota, travel by slow jolts ended.
A rising tide lifts all boats, so the saying goes, but on the Coast Line's
beach run between Rincon and Carpinteria, the creeping water sometimes
lifted the stagecoach! Climb aboard with driver John Waugh, a sensible team
of horses and shotgun messenger Maury Hoag for a fast ride "Stagecoaching on
the California Coast."