"Old" Hat Creek Station, approx. 1880.
The Old Hat Creek Station and Fort, established in 1875 by Capt. James Egan, was located north of the Hat Creek Breaks on Sage Creek. Capt. Egan mistakenly believed he was on Hat Creek in Nebraska. Egan, an Irishman, received a battlefield commission in the 2nd Cavalry during the Civil War, was wounded at Cold Harbor, and saw service in the west from the end of 1865 until at least the late 1870's, being stationed at various times at Ft. Lyon, Colo., Ft. Sanders, Ft. D. A. Russell, Ft. Laramie, and in Montana. The fort burned in 1883. Subsequently a new station was constructed a short distance to the west on Cottonwood Creek. The "new" station, still in existence, was a log, two-story, hip-roofed structure. Stations frequently would have all needed accommodations for travelers, including corrals, blacksmiths, feed for the horses, etc. The larger, more elaborate stations were referred to as "road ranches". The modern equivalent would be a truck stop with a motel. The Ecoffey and Cuny facility, discussed on a subsequent page, started out as a road ranch, but was converted to a hog ranch when there was a decline in business.