ABOUT THIS BOOK
This project started with an old photo that was given to the author in 2009. The photo contained no information regarding the location, date, or event that the photo depicted. This was a mystery to the author. After many inquiries and research, it was determined that the date of the photo was 1926, the location was Ritzville, Washington, and the event was part of the stagecoach journey that promoted the Air Mail Jubilee of April 6, 1926, at Pasco Washington. This started the author on a two-year search for additional information.
Much of the information came from old newspapers, now made available on microfilm and the internet. Some of these
newspapers were ordered in by our local public library and were from several sources including the Washington State Library at Olympia and the library at Washington State University. Some of the information was transcribed from the internet through a site that hosts many old newspapers including the Spokesman-Review and The Spokane Chronicle.
Some of the information in this book reflect direct quotes of articles from these newspapers. The author felt that these stories
in the original language of that day had additional meaning and does not want to lose it in translation. Museums and historical societies also
provided information and historic photos that were essential to this work. It is recommended that the reader consult the
acknowledgment section for a complete list of those who made this project possible.
Just eighty-fice years ago an extraordinary event took place in the Inland Northwest. That event was the Air Mail Jubilee at Pasco, Washington. The Spokane Chamber of Commerce, wanting to promote the Air Mail Jubilee, hit upon a plan to send a bullet-scarred stagecoach from Spokane, down through the Palouse, and finally arriving at Pasco for the inauguration of airmail service to Eastern Washington. This would be only the second contract airmail service in the United States. The chamber selected 73-year old Felix Warren as the driver, a man well acquainted with the job.
Even though the Jubilee was the advertised reason for the celebration at Pasco, the old stagecoach driver, Col Felix Warren almost stole the show. Everywhere the stage stopped, huge crowds of anxious people lined the streets hoping to get a glimpse of a man who had made his living for nearly sixty years driving a stagecoach with for or six-horse teams delivering passengers, mail, and freight throughout the region.
Some of the people who gathered were also there to bear witness to the history being made, or perhaps witnessing the end of an era. Many of the spectators were too young to have any personal knowledge of a stagecoach but wanted to what a real, genuine, bullet-scarred stagecoach looked like. School teachers in many towns gladly let students out of class to see the historic coach. Others who lined the streets had known Felix Warren for 40, 50, or even 60 years. Some had even traveled together on the same wagon train that had brought the Warren family west on the Oregon Trail. Still, others had ridden coaches either driven or owned by Felix Warren. It is certain that none who gathered came away disappointed.
Col. Warren had once competed in a championship horse driving competition during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and was the winner of that contest. The title of World’s Champion Reinsman continued to follow Warren for the rest of his life, and for good reason. While the reasons may be varied as to why so many people, both young and old, came to see the veteran stage driver, everyone agreed that Felix was one of a kind.
Small towns all down through the Palouse got behind the Airmail Jubilee celebration. At each town, Felix would make a stop a the local post office to pick up mail destined for that historic flight. After the mail had been collected, speeches were made by town officials and banquets honoring the stagecoach party were held. As the reader will note, thousands of spectators journeyed to Pasco for the big celebration of the day, but many more came to see the World’s Champion Reinsman drive the last stage to Pasco.