“Stage Station – Villa Citos” (Vallecito) by H.Tapia Oil on Board P1247

Knockout primitive painting of an old stage station in the desert. Original station in Vallecito was built in 1845

The road through the valley was the only wagon road into southern California and during California’s Gold Rush days, thousands of prospectors passed through Vallecito, refreshing both themselves and their animals.About 1851, a pioneer by the name of James R. Lassiter saw opportunity in the valley and established a store and campground to accommodate the many emigrants. His home and outbuildings were made of sod cut from the plentiful ciénega (salt grass).  Soon, other pioneers built homes and businesses in the valley to serve the many travelers.In 1854, two men by the names of Samuel Warnock and Joseph Swycaffer, implemented the first regular mail route in southern California. The semi-weekly horseback delivery between San Diego and Yuma, Arizona made Vallecito a regular stop along its route. In the fall of 1857, the nation received its first overland Atlantic to Pacific mail service when James E. Birch’s San Diego-San Antonio mail began operation. The forerunner of the Pony Express and the northern stage lines, it was a known as the “Great Southern Overland, ” but more familiarly called The Jackass Mail.

In addition to being a regular mail stop it also became an important resting place for Army detachments traveling to and from California. In 1858 it was made one of the stops of the famous Butterfield Overland Stage Route that traveled between Missouri and San Francisco. With the new passenger service, Vallecito soon became a place of prominence as hundred of travelers utilized the valley as a resting place.

 Frame 35 1/2″ x 29 1/2″, board 30″ x 24″.

 Price on request.