TPWD News Release — Aug. 3, 2012
Other activities scheduled for the day include 19th-Century music performances from local bands, Star of Texas Dulcimers and the Roseville Fair Old Time String Band, and guided tours of the Inn with park staff and volunteer hosts festively dressed in period costume, circa 1850s.
“This event provides people with the unique opportunity to actually ride a stagecoach, and see firsthand how folks lived more than 150 years ago. And, they get to see a house and hotel with a remarkably historic past,” said Tom Scaggs, Park Interpreter at Fanthorp Inn SHS. “Today, only a handful of replica stagecoaches still operate at all in Texas, so to have this here is a one-of-a-kind thing. And this site is so significant to the beginnings of modern-day Texas culture. It stands as a testament to the pioneer and entrepreneurial spirit of early settlers.”
Fanthorp’s stage is a replica 1850 Concord stagecoach, featuring bright red paint and yellow, spoked wheels, horse drawn by two mules. Originally, a ride on the stage would accommodate nine travelers, allowing just 15 inches per person; up to six others could ride on top. Including freight, passengers and crew, the stagecoach was impressively designed to transport 4,000 pounds across the frontier.
“Years ago, it was a tight fit inside the coach, especially if the traveler was large or a lady wearing bustles,” Scaggs adds.
Today’s replica stagecoach, however, hosts around seven people comfortably, as it leisurely drives through small downtown Anderson, past the restored historic Grimes county courthouse and back to the Inn.
The six-acre park’s centerpiece is the actual Fanthorp Inn, a double-pen, cedar log dogtrot house built in 1834 by English immigrant Henry Fanthorp, after he petitioned Stephen F. Austin for permission to settle in this original Austin Colony. The structure served as both family home, and—because of its strategic locale near the cities of Houston, Navasota and Bryan—became a popular overnight destination for travelers.
Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site is located just off of Highway 90, about 10 miles northeast of Navasota, or some 30 miles southeast of Bryan-College Station. The park does not collect an admission fee, but donations are accepted for the stagecoach rides and Inn tours.
For more information, contact (936) 878-2214, or visit http://www.texasstateparks.org.