Some people mistakenly believe that the Pony Express was a predecessor to the USPS. However, the USPS was founded in 1775, while the Pony Express was developed on April 3rd, 1860 and ended on October 24th 1861. It was founded as a high-speed mail delivery system by the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, run by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell.
Established after the invention of the telegraph, but before it took off in the U.S., the Pony Express was the fastest way to get communication from the East to the West or vice versa. The 1900-mile route started in Sacramento California and ended in St. Joseph Missouri.
The Patee House was the Pony Express headquarters, located one block away from the home of Jesse James. Jesse James was the famous outlaw of the west, shot down by Robert Ford. The messengers started out at the Patee House and traveled to 184 Pony Express stations along the Pony Express route.
It took only ten days for a piece of mail to get from California to Missouri. The founders of the Pony Express had hoped to obtain a government contract for their fast mail delivery system, but that never happened.
The Pony Express utilized 400 horses, 184 stations, 120 riders and hundreds of other workers. This massive undertaking was all-too-quickly put in the past as the sudden rapid expansion of the telegraph eliminated the need for pony riders to get information somewhere fast. Yet, 150 years later, the Pony Express is still remembered as one of the lingering symbols of the old west.