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Stage coach and Omnibus
 from William Dana Orcutt. Good Old Dorchester, p. 170

The transportation facilities of the town increased in 1830 by the addition of a new line of stage-coaches to Boston, which was started in opposition to those driven by Charles and Archibald Dunmore. The coaches started near the site of the present railroad station on Washington Street near Norfolk; but the Dunmore brothers had so firm a hold on the patronage of the town that the new line was short-lived.

The coach line of the Dunmore brothers made hourly trips from the Lower Mills to the city proper. There were two coaches daily, one starting in the early morning, and the other at noon. On the return trips the coaches left Wildes Tavern in Boston. A slate was hung in the office, on which were the names of would-be passengers; and often the extreme ends of the city had to be visited before the journey to Dorchester was fairly begun.

The road over which the coaches ran passed over the Neck, which at one time was favorite haunt for highwaymen, and many exciting episodes occurred there. Dr. Holbrook, of Milton, used to relate an adventure he once had when returning home after a visit to a patient in Boston. When on the Neck, the bridle of his horse was suddenly seized by a robber, while a confederate “cut behind” the sulky. As it happened, the rear part of the carriage had been covered with sharp-pointed nails, to prevent mischievous boys from stealing rides. The doctor heard a cry from behind, and at once whipped up his horse. This was so unexpected that the highwayman at the horse’s head relinquished his grasp, and had plenty of time to assist his comrade in nursing his wounded fingers, while the doctor drove home.

The fare on the coaches was thirty-seven and a half cents each way. When the new line started in 1830, the fare was reduced to twenty-five cents. A little later, Captain Goodspeed, the commander of the Dorchester artillery, started a coach which ran from Captain Eaton’s store, on Meeting-House Hill, charging only twelve and a half cents each way. In 1834 William Hollis and his brother Joseph had the first line of omnibuses, which also started from Captain Eatons store. The fare was twenty-five cents, but somewhat cheaper if tickets were purchased. These omnibuses were cumbersome affairs, which were drawn by four horses. They made their headquarters in Boston in front of the Washington Coffee House, on Washington Street near Milk Street. Later, William Hendry placed some smaller omnibuses upon this same route, which left Franklin Street, near Washington Street, every half-hour. These omnibuses were the immediate predecessors of the horse-cars and the present electric cars.


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Created: December 22, 2012   Modified: December 22, 2012