Photo of the Week – Pony Express Rider

The “Photo of the Week” is back…at least for a while.

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Pony Express Rider

There are several Pony Express Rider silhouettes along US 36 through Missouri. This highway roughly follows the route of Pony Express riders.

Between April 1860 and October 1861, the Pony Express was the fastest way to send a letter from the eastern United States to California. The route started at St. Joseph, Missouri, and terminated at Sacramento, California. There were more than 150 stations along the 1500-plus mile distance. The stations were spaced about ten miles apart. When a rider reached a station, he got on a fresh horse and continued. Each rider averaged more than 100 miles and more than 10 hours per day.

The maximum weight each horse was to carry was 165 pounds. The saddle, mail pouch, and the rider’s gun weighed 45 pounds. That meant that each rider could be no more than 125 pounds.

When it first started operation, it cost $5.00 for a one-half ounce letter. $5.00 was equivalent to about $160.00 today. The price eventually went down to $1.00 per half ounce (only about $25.00 today). The Pony Express reduced the time for a letter to travel to California by 10 days.

During its operation, it was the main link between California and the rest of the United States, until the telegraph was established. The official museum of the Pony Express is in Marysville, Kansas.

This photo was taken near St. Joseph, Missouri.


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