Throwback Thursday: For the first time in 150 years, a stagecoach is returning to Mammoth Cave Hotel

Kentucky’s history has been shaped heavily by travel and transportation. From the
first Native Americans utilizing streams and rivers for communities, to the first
European settlers who visited the pioneer wilderness utilizing buffalo traces and
waterways, the history of a people is always reflected in their movement and

During the 19th century, stagecoach travel gained more popularity in the United
States as the country grew further westward. According to the National Park
Service, the stagecoach was the premier means of travel around the Mammoth
Cave National Park area, and along routes that eventually became the highways
connecting Louisville to Nashville. Three stagecoach company lines operated in
southern Kentucky, carrying passengers to Mammoth Cave from Park City and
Cave City. While the classic Hollywood version of the American West may have
painted stagecoach travel as romantic or sensational, it was pretty treacherous and
could be uncomfortable. Imagine unpaved roads in our karst geography of sinkhole
country. Then, of course, stagecoaches were easy targets for bandits – there was a
robbery in 1880 near Little Hope Church where two masked thieves held up a stage –
and now evidence shows these pillagers may have been notorious outlaw brothers
Frank and Jesse James. At the end of the journey to the Mammoth Cave Hotel, a
bugle horn was always sounded, welcoming travelers to a homecooked meal and
beds after a long journey. The Mammoth Cave National Park Association is planning
a homecoming. The circa 1855 Andrew McCoy stagecoach that indeed rode these lines
and got robbed is currently on display at the National Cave Museum and Library in
Park City, and was also recently at the National Corvette Museum’s Kentucky 225
transportation exhibit a few years ago.

The stagecoach is literally being driven back to the Mammoth Cave Hotel on
Saturday, August 12, at 11 a.m. The carriage will be led by horses to the hotel’s lobby
to be part of a new permanent exhibit. If you want to witness a moment not seen in
southern Kentucky or at the Mammoth Cave Hotel for over 150 years, plan to attend.
Find out more about the schedule on the Mammoth Cave National Park Association’s