It became an icon over years guiding visitors and residents alike to the Golden West Casino Restaurant on Mesquite Boulevard. But more recently, the old stagecoach was becoming a safety hazard as weather and age made it dangerous to be in such a public place.
Sharon and Rick Branch, managers of the Golden West didn’t want to simply tear it down and haul it away.
“We wanted it to remain a part of the community and keep its history alive,” Rick Branch said. “Besides, we didn’t want to get run out of town if we just trashed it,” he quipped.
Sharon Branch agreed with her husband saying, “We wanted it to go to a good home.”
With the help of Sam Cochran, Ace Hardware and Ron Alford, the Branch’s worked with Elspeth Kuta who is the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum Coordinator to find a new home for the iconic stagecoach at the museum.
“This is a big part of Mesquite’s recent history,” Kuta said. “We know it’s been located at the Golden West for about 17 years. We have some volunteers at the museum who are going to help restore the parts that need work.”
Luckily, Kuta and her team of researchers at the museum were able to dig up some of the stagecoach’s history. “I posted the move on Facebook and within an hour, Warren Bell came in and shared its history with us.”
Bell said his father-in-law John Hall moved to Bunkerville in the 1980s from California. Hall had taken a trip back east looking for antiques for his wife’s shop in Mesquite called “Grandma’s Attic.” In Missouri he found a wagon frame that was used for logging and brought it back to Mesquite.
Hall wanted to build a stagecoach but wasn’t quite sure how it should look. He watched cowboy videos and paused when he found one he liked. He created the top of the stagecoach which then sat by the Polar Freeze ice cream shop until it was sold. Three or four years later is was relocated to the Golden West.
Kuta’s museum team found more information in a May 15, 1997 Desert Valley Times (DVT) news article.
“Purchased by Bill Rogers of Golden West saloon, he, with help from many volunteers and gallons of paint, restored this relic from days gone by and entered it in the Mesquite Days Parade,” according to the article.
Rogers told the DVT, “I was disappointed that we did not even get honorable mention. After all, this relic has been a part of Mesquite for a lot of years.”
Cochran volunteered to help the Branch’s with coordinating the move. He is a retired engineer from the Las Vegas Hilton and has the right skill set to help make everything go smoothly. He worked with Ace Hardware who generously donated a forklift and wood platform placed underneath the aging relic. Alford gently drove the historical icon through the back streets to its new home.
Cochran shared the Branch’s sentiments about not destroying the stagecoach. “I like old stuff so I couldn’t see trashing it,” Cochran said.
The historical stagecoach is now located in the rear of the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum on Mesquite Boulevard.