In 1862, the United States Government commissioned Ben Holladay to move the Overland Trail Mail Route from the North Platte Valley to the old Cherokee Trail, which later became known as the Overland Trail. This was the only route that the mail coaches and emigrants were allowed to use from 1862 to 1868 because of Indian uprisings on the northern route.
Mr. Holladay hired Jack Slade, purported outlaw, to build the Virginia Dale Stage Station in June of 1862. Jack named the station Virginia Dale in honor of his wife, and it became a bustling place of activity. It was not unusual to have fifty to one-hundred wagons with their loads of merchandise and freight camped at Virginia Dale. The popularity of Virginia Dale as well as the notoriety of Jack Slade were spread from coast to coast by Overland Stage travelers, emigrants, magazine writers, and newspaper correspondents. For more information on Jack Slade, please see The Death of a Gunfighter.
The completion of the Union Pacific Railroad to Cheyenne in 1866 halted stage coach travel, and the Overland Trail and the Virginia Dale Stage Station were abandoned. In subsequent years, the building has been used as a residence, general store, post office, and now a community hall. It is the only Stage Station on the Overland Trail still standing in its original location and has been referred to as one of "Colorado's Legendary Treasures" and "Larimer County's Most Important Historical Site."
The Virginia Dale Community Club is a non-profit, educational, and charitable organization which receives a substantial part of its support from the general public. The Club is dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of this celebrated place and to the education of the public about its historical significance. Won't you please help our small organization in its efforts to make this legendary treasure and vital link to our past a durable piece of history for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations? You can help by becoming an active member (membership application) and/or by making a tax-deductible donation.