November 6, 2006
In 1857, Congress awarded a six-year contract worth $600,000 to John Butterfield to build, within one year, a mail route from the Mississippi River to California. When the Butterfield Overland Stage Route was completed, the 141-station, 2,812-mile stagecoach/mail route was the longest in the world. Entering Arkansas from Missouri and Tennessee, the first coach stop in Arkansas on the inaugural trip was at a spring near present-day Rogers (Benton County), with Butterfield himself as a passenger. The route was ultimately a financial failure, and by 1860, Butterfield was forced out of the company due to debt.