TWIN FALLS • A historic stagecoach used by Twin Falls founder I.B. Perrine has a new home.
Maurice A. Bowers Trust donated the 1880s-era stagecoach to the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce to put on display in the new visitor center.
After getting restored at Middlekauff Ford Lincoln, the beloved community item was moved to the center April 18.
Twin Falls police escorted the stagecoach, which was pulled by a 2015 Ford Super Duty Truck donated by Middlekauff.
Middlekauff — along with volunteers, including Gary Snow of Twin Falls — repaired the stagecoach. The project took more than three months.
In addition to fixing broken parts and painting, old wood was removed. “It was starting to rot out a little bit,” said Evan Durrant with Middlekauff.
The stagecoach dates back many decades, but some historical details are iffy.
Perrine wanted to go into the transportation business with his brother. In 1884, they ordered a stagecoach from Concord Coach, a company based in Concord, N.H. It was built almost entirely by hand.
The stagecoach was delivered to Shoshone on a railroad flat car. “Most of them were delivered that way,” said Paul Smith, a trustee for the Maurice A. Bowers Trust.
Perrine’s stagecoach was in use from 1884 until 1911, supposedly. “There’s conjecture on that date,” Smith said. “Some say 1915.”
Once a week, it carried passengers along a route from Shoshone to Contact, Nev.
“It was the coach used to bring the original people who created Twin Falls,” Smith said.
After the stagecoach was retired, it was housed on property that’s now Blue Lakes Country Club. “The weather got to it and it deteriorated very badly,” Smith said.
David Perrine, a great-great grandson of I.B. Perrine, recalls hearing stories of his aunt, uncle and father playing on the stagecoach as children.
It remained in the Perrine family until the 1960s, Smith said. Then, Twin Falls resident Johnny Meyer purchased it.
There was a huge outcry when the stagecoach was purchased in 2004 by a Texas collector. A group of Twin Falls businessmen — Richard Stivers, Mike McBride and Francis Florence — stepped up to buy it back.
The Bowers Trust then bought the stagecoach for $50,000.
There wasn’t anywhere to display it, so it spent about six years in a warehouse before moving to a temperature-controlled showroom at Middlekauff.