The Pony Express in Utah
The Pikes Peak Express Company was involved in the transfer of ammo and supplies for the military, in the mid 1800’s. William Russell, along with co-founders Majors and Waddell, wanted to take advantage of the many employees and stations the company operated to work on a new idea- a fast mail service called the Pony Express.
The project was founded in April of 1860, but only made it until December of 1861. Starting in Sacramento, California and running all the way to St. Joseph Missouri, the Pony Express route covered 1900 miles of western territory, including the Mormon Trail.
There were 190 stations along the route and each rider averaged 75-125 miles per shift. The riders changed horses at every station along the way, as they had to ride fast to get the mail across the route in 10 days. The stations were only 10-15 miles apart.
Not only did the Pony Express have an effect on Salt Lake mailing, but Utah played a big role in the Pony Express as well. Utah companies supplied many of the Pony Express’ horses, and Major Howard Egan of the Nauvoo Legion ran the Utah stations. 20 of the 190 stations were located in Utah from Echo Canyon to Deep Creek.
On April 6th of 1861, the telegraph, which had been invented in 1835, finally took off in earnest. The Overland Telegraph took over the territory of the Pony Express. Able to get information from one end of the route to the other almost instantly, the costly 10-day run could not compete with the new technology. When the Pony Express ended in December of 1861, it had suffered losses of $500,000. The Utah workers went on to find other employment and the Pony Express became a part of western history.