THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: MARCH 30 – APRIL 5

On April 3, 1860 Pony Express began mail service.

Pony Express was a short-lived but emblematic mail and small package carrier service that operated during the mid-1800s. It still remains a symbol of American westward expansion. The service began in 1860 as a means to move messages and parcels from St. Joseph, Missouri (then the western terminus of the nation’s rail system), to Sacramento, California, and all points between. The Pony Express trail was 2,000 miles (just over 3,200 kilometers) long and could be traveled in eight to 10 days by a series of riders.

Pony Express service was the fastest way to get messages across the frontier at the time; the only alternatives were transport by stagecoach or boat. But when the first transcontinental telegraph line was completed on October 24, 1861, the Pony Express folded only two days later.

“Pony Express.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 804. Gale Virtual Reference Library.

For more information about Pony Express click here.

Pony Express 1

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