With the discovery of gold in California Gulch in 1860, getting to Oro City (now Leadville) meant an opportunity for fame and fortune.
It would, however, be twenty years before railroad service traversed the Upper Arkansas Valley.
Stagecoach routes from Denver and Aspen over Mosquito and Tennessee passes were established, but travelers and commercial enterprises coming from Pueblo and south had to make their way up the Arkansas River.
The Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach Company established a route from Canon City to Leadville in the 1860's.
Stage stations were developed at intervals of 15-20 miles, the distance a team of horses could reasonably last.
Bale's Station, downriver of where Salida now stands, was one of the relay stops on the Arkansas River route.
Stages stopped and sometimes passengers overnighted there before going on to Leadville.
A formal townsite was established around 1878, named for Bale's daughter Cleora.
As the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad pushed farther westward up the canyon, stages moved their departures upriver.
Canon City was the railhead from about 1874 and Salida from 1880.
Once the railroad arrived the relay stations below Salida became obsolete and stage travel was abandoned.