Winter 2021 Educator Guide

Stage Coach

Courtesy: Library of Congress

Evolutions in Transportation

The 19th and early 20th centuries produced significant changes in transportation technology. As technology brought about faster methods of transportation, older methods remained in use. In his article, With Energy and Success, Dave Waite gives a detailed account of one stagecoach line’s rise to success and subsequent decline in Upstate New York. The article explains the ways stagecoaches became a popular means of transportation in the 1800s and how the availability of railroads led to the eventual end of stagecoach service in Upstate New York.


Courtesy: Library of Congress

Compelling Question

How do changes in technology impact society both socially and economically?

Setting the Stage

Show this video from to introduce students to the evolution of transportation.

Evolution of Transportation Video

Guided Reading Questions     Link to Full Article

1. How does the author describe stagecoaches in upstate New York?

2. What were the three types of coach accommodations?

3. Why did the express have strict regulations?

4. What choice did travelers have to make when choosing public transportation in the early 1800s?

5. What problems could occur when traveling by stagecoach?

6. What event led to the end of stagecoach travel in upstate New York?

7. Even after railroads became a common means of travel, what role did the stagecoach continue to play in transportation?

8. What new form of transportation eventually led to the end of all stagecoach travel?

9. Draw a picture of what British journalist Harriet Martineau described on her stagecoach journey.

Document Analysis 1

Old Coach meets Iron Horse

Courtesy: Library of Congress

Analysis Questions

1. What forms of transportation do you see in this photograph? 

2. How are these types of transportation similar/different? 

3. How are the individuals in this photograph dressed? Why do you think they are dressed this way? 

4. When do you think this photograph was taken? Give two pieces of evidence from the photograph to support your answer. 

5. Why do you think these two forms of transportation existed at the same time? 

Document Analysis 2

Stagecoach Advertisement

Courtesy: Schenectady County Historical Society

Analysis Questions

1. What type of document is this? 

2. Why was this document created? 

3. What is the Telegraph according to this document? 

4. How long does it take to get from Albany to Buffalo with this service? 

5. According to the regulations, what does the Telegraph carry? 

6. What happens if a passenger is late for the coach? 

7. Do passengers have a choice of where to eat when they stop? 

8. What other restrictions are placed on passengers according to regulation number 6? 

9. Is the service responsible for the passengers’ baggage? 

10. Who published this document? 

Download Document 2 Worksheet

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