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While today’s travelers may be put off by the increased security hassles of air travel post 9-11, consider what travelers had to put up with during the days when stagecoaches rumbled across Arizona. In the late 19th century, travelers on the Butterfield Stage line discovered the discomfort of close quarters, dusty trails and lonely stage stations, as well as the threat of Indian attacks and outlaw robbers. But as hard as travel was in those days, the Old West still had a code of etiquette for stagecoach passengers. Here are some of the rules of stagecoach travel during the 1870s:
• When a driver asked a passenger to get out and walk, one was advised to do so, and not grumble about it.
• If the team of horses ran away, it was better to sit in the coach because most passengers who jumped were seriously injured.
• Smoking and spitting on the leeward side of the coach was discouraged.
• Drinking spirits was allowed, but passengers were expected to share.
• Swearing was not allowed, and neither was sleeping on your neighbor’s shoulder.
• Travelers shouldn’t point out spots where murders had occurred, especially when “delicate” passengers were aboard.
• Greasing one’s hair was discouraged because dust would stick to it.
And according to the Omaha Herald in 1877, “Don’t imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.”
[Source: From “Arizona Highways”, contributed by Sara Hemp]