It’s been a little over a month since I wrote about our enigmatic founder, Ben Holladay, and there’s so much more to his story. The many fascinating anecdotes written on his life and travels make it tough to choose just one thing to blog about. So, I present to you, a list of Holladay Tidbits:
- In addition to being called “The Stagecoach King,” Ben Holladay’s nicknames included “Giant of the Old West” and “The Napoleon of the Plains.”
- While working as a civilian courier, he helped the Mormons escape Lilburn Boggs’ Executive Order 44, which called for their extermination.
- While he helped open the distillery, it was his brother David who primarily ran the business.
- At one point in the mid-1800s, he was considered the United States’ largest individual employer.
- His name even appeared in popular folk tunes of the era:
“You ask me for our leader, I soon inform you then;
It’s Holladay they call him, and often only Ben;
If you can read the papers, it’s easy work to scan;
He beats the world in staging now, or any other man.”
- He was a Gatsby-type character of his era, renowned for luxurious week-long parties costing as much as $10,000.
- He owned mansions in New York City and Washington, DC, as well as a two hundred room palace in White Plains, New York.
- Two bronze lion sculptures stood guard at the entrance of his D.C. Mansion, replicas of the famous statues crafted by Italian sculptor, Antonio Canova, for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII in Rome.
- He had a reputation for being generous with his friendships and with his whiskey, but ruthless in his quarrels.