The inauguration of stagecoach travel to Santa Barbara in 1861 was a major step toward the breakdown of the city’s geographical isolation. Santa Barbara at that time had no wharf, the arrival of the railroad was more than 20 years in the future, and the passes up and over the Santa Ynez Range were steep, difficult, and often impassable. Until 1868, the primary stage road ran through Gaviota Pass, but it proved less than ideal. The severe, wet winter of 1861 not only closed Gaviota for days at a time, but also damaged other portions of the stagecoach route through the county. Sometimes the coaches had to be virtually dismantled to get through Gaviota Pass and passengers found themselves trudging through the narrow defile loaded down with their luggage. In 1868, a new route opened up over San Marcos Pass.
Yet travel could still be difficult. For one thing, Concord stagecoaches were rarely used on the South Coast. The preferred vehicle was the boxier mud wagon, its lighter weight allowing for a somewhat easier passage over the steep grades. These coaches had canvas roofs and window coverings, but no doors. The suspension system of iron and leather was different from the Concord coach and resulted in a much harsher, jolting ride. Since the canvas window covers were often rolled up, dust, dirt, or mud were passengers’ constant companions. These vehicles could hold as many as 18 passengers and were pulled by teams of four or six horses.
The Baushke family, prominent citizens in Benton Harbor, Michigan and carriage makers by trade, built America's first car with 4-wheels and seating for 5 people, in 1894.
The Baushke automobile, referred to as an "autymobile", was built in Benton Harbor as an experimental investment idea, which if successful, would lead to grandiose plans of manufacturing these "horseless carriages" at the Baushke Carriage Works located in downtown Benton Harbor on West Main Street.
Their 5-passenger "autymobile" was the first car America ever set eyes upon. Albert Baushke did the ironwork and Louis Baushke turned out the woodwork. There was an inventor and engineer at the Courtwright Steam Pump factory who was engaged to collaborate on an explosive gas engine.