If you are traveling in the midwest, one thing you won’t come up short with is historical museums. It seems like every hundred miles, a small town comes along with some significant contribution to the formation of this nation. They are usually forgotten about by the people of today. Today, this is just what happened to me when I discovered the Museum of the Pony Express.
Imagine being being a prospector in the west in the 1850’s. The only communication from the east took about a month to reach you. Let’s stop and let that sink in for a second. Any word of politics, of your families health, of any new information took a month to get to you. By the time word got back to the east, that would have been two months. It’s hard to fathom in todays world of instant communication. To conquer this problem, The Pony Express was created.
William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell were the three founders of the Pony Express. Their idea was to find the shortest route and to use mounted riders, as young as 13, (opposed to stagecoaches), to deliver letters in 10 days. They were told that the idea was impossible, but that did not stop them.
So they built 186 stations, each about ten miles apart, and had the riders travel to each, switching horses every time they came upon a new station. They would only travel with a pouch to ensure they could travel at top speed. Riders would then switch every 70-100 miles. The route started in St Joseph Missouri and ended all the way in Sacramento.
Today, the original starting station in St. Joseph is now a museum dedicated to these riders. It is definitely surreal walking around and thinking about the hardships all of these riders endured just to bring people their mail. It makes me think about how soft we have become today, for better or worse. The museum is broken up into two sections, one to talk about the trail and one to honor the riders. Many of the riders went on to become famous on the plains in their own right, the most famous being Buffalo Bill.
Closest Supercharger – St Joseph 2 mi
201 N Belt Hwy, St Joseph, MO 64506
Pony Express Museum
914 Penn St, St Joseph, MO 64503