Pony Express

 
 
 

THE PONY EXPRESS

The Pony Express was a key link in moving post across America from the East to the West coast. It looms large in the mythology of mail but actually only operated for 18 months - from April 1860 to October 1861 - less time than the run of the subsequent TV series of the same name which made it famous. The Pony Express route ran some 2000 miles from Missouri to California and was supported by nearly 200 stations about 10 miles apart. The first mail pouch left Washington DC on April 3rd 1860 and arrived in San Francisco on April 14th. The riders were selected for their weight - less than 125 pounds - and they carried 40 pounds of mail and equipment. The close proximity of the relay stations allowed each horse to cover most of the 10 miles at a gallop. In March 1861 a combination of Pony Express and the fast growing telegraph network got the text of President Lincoln’s inaugural address from Washington to San Francisco in 7 days and 17 hours.  But by October 1861 the telegraph lines had been built all the way from East to West with no gaps and the Pony Express closed down 2 days later. It was short lived but played a vital role in making California feel part of the Union. Its operations, its name and logo were sold to Wells Fargo.