Friday, August 30, 2013

history of the pony express.

After having our mail delivered by Pony Express on our wagon train adventure I was interested in finding out more information about the original Pony Express.

The Pony Express was a mail service delivering mail from St. Joesph, Missouri across the great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento, California by horseback, using a series of relay stations.

Do you know how long the Pony Express was in operation?

It was only in operation for 18 months!

During that 18 months it did reduce the time for messages to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about 10 days. It started operation on April 3, 1860 and it became the wests most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph was established. It was also vital for tying the new state of California with the rest of the country.

Do you know what the mail pouch was called?

The mail pouch was called a mochila! Mochila is Spanish for pouch of backpack. The mochila was thrown over the saddle and held in place by the rider sitting on it. Each corner had a pocket and bundles of mail were placed in each pocket and padlocked for safety.
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There were 184 Pony Express stations along the approximately 1,900 mile route. Stations were about 10 miles apart along the route. Ten miles was roughly the distance a horse could travel at a gallop before tiring. At each station the rider would change to a fresh horse, taking only his mail pouch with him. Each rider rode about 75 miles per day.
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Some of the postmarks found on surviving Pony Express mail. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a piece of mail stamped from the actual Pony Express?
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The Pony Express route has been designated the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Approximately 120 historic sites along the trail may eventually to the public, including 50 station or station ruins.

p.s. Did you know that the USPS has trademarked "Pony Express" along with "Air Mail"?

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