Although the first stagecoach ventured west out of Chicago to Fullersburg, 15 miles from Chicago, January 1, 1834, then the Indian boundary line, it was a man named Frink that set up the first successful stage line out of Chicago in 1836. His line was known as the Walker & Frink Stage Lines and their coaches started from a shanty-like building located in the heart of Chicago at the corner of Lake and Clark Streets. He fought all lines in true Chicago style, eventually emerging in complete control of the stages in and out of Chicago by 1860, covering a radius of 1,000 miles.

Walker & Frink Stages went to Detroit, Milwaukee, Galena and long distances south, east and west. Occasionally his stages would encounter one of some other company's on the highroad and the two would race to their destination. Mr. Frink's orders were definite: his drivers were not to spare the whip, horses or passengers, but to be sure and come in first. Stagecoach travel continued to increase until 1860, but of course, when a railroad went through, that ended stage travel over that route, and so would end another era in our mode of travel.

The Walker & Frink Stage Coach carried many passengers between Detroit and Chicago. Many a lady passenger became hysterical in the stage coach when the driver seemingly headed for the middle of Lake Michigan while fording the more shallow water in the delta to the Calumet River, in the days before bridges.

Excerpt from Ox-Cart - Stage Coach Development

Fullersburg, on the edge of the Indian Country, is where a road house once stood along the Old Plank Road (Highway 34 - Ogden Avenue), a stop on the Walker & Frink Line. Known as Castle Inn, it is believed that Abraham Lincoln spoke from the veranda here while riding the circuit.

Return to Main Menu