Original Pony Express Station: Gothenburg, Nebraska

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When we pulled up to the Pony Express Station in Gothenburg, NE, Tyler said, “LOOK!  A Lincoln Log cabin!”

The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the North American continent from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, from April 1860 to October 1861. It became the nation’s most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph and was vital for tying California closely with the Union just before the American Civil War.

The original fast mail services had messages carried by horseback riders in relay across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains of the Western United States. It briefly reduced the time for mail to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to about ten days.  The Pony Express riders carried mail within the four pockets of their saddle cover, called a “mochila”.  Pony Express riders were recruited hastily, but carefully.  They took an oath not to swear, fight, or to abuse their animals, and to conduct themselves honestly.  After taking the oath, they were presented with a Bible.