Pony Express
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Chapter Eight:
DIVSION FIVE: STATIONS BETWEEN ROBERTS CREEK AND SACRAMENTO/SAN FRANCISCO (continued)


CALIFORNIA

167. WOODFORD'S STATION

Woodford, located in the northeastern Alpine County, served as an outpost as early as 1847 under the direction of Samuel Brannan. Later, an unofficial post office and a remount station for the Pony Express was located at this site. Bloss identifies Woodford's as the first west-bound station in California. [105] The station April 3 to April 28 or 29, 1860. At such time, the route was redirected when Rollon Daggett offered free toll over Daggett Pass in Nevada. Thus, Pony Express riders were able to avoid three remount stations. [106] A California Registered Historical Landmark's marker identifies the station site, now covered by Highway 88.107 It reads:

During initial five weeks of its operation in 1860, an important remount station of the famous Pony Express was located a few feet from here at Cary's Barn. [108]

168. FOUNTAIN PLACE STATION

Edward B. Scott locates Fountain Place at the headwaters of Trout Creek, "five air miles northeast of Meyers, on an off-shoot of the Placerville-Carson back road to South Stateline." [109] Garret Washington Fountain, a New Yorker, purchased 160 acres of land in 1859 and erected a log station near the creek in 1860. The Pony Express possibly used Fountain Place as a relay station during its earliest runs in 1860. Garret Fountain probably remained at the station as late as 1882, and thereafter it changed hands several times over the years. [110]

169. YANK'S STATION

Many sources identify Yank's as a Pony Express station. [111] In 1859, Ephraim "Yank" Clement and his wife Lydia acquired the station and outbuildings from George Douglas and Martin Smith, who had operated it as a hostelry and stage stop. The Clements enlarged the hostelry into a three-story, fourteen-room way station, accompanied by a roomy stable-hay barn and large corrals across the road. The new facility thrived along with neighboring saloons, a general store, blacksmith shop, cooperage, and meat-processing facilities. In 1861, artist Edward Vischer captured the magnitude of the station with a detailed sketch of the complex. [112]

Business remained good for the station's owners over the years. It continued to serve as a hotel and store until November 25, 1938, when the building burned during the Meyers town fire. Today a California Registered Historical Landmark's marker identifies the original station site. [113] It reads:

This was the site of the most eastern remount station of the Central Overland Pony Express in California. Established as a trading post in 1851 by Martin Smith, it became a popular hostelry and stage stop operated by Ephraim "Yank" Clement on the Placerville-Carson Road. Pony riders Warren Upson first arrived here on the evening of April 28, 1860. Changing ponies, he galloped on to Friday's in Nevada to deliver his mochila to Bob Haslam for the ride to Genoa. Used as a Pony remount station until October 26, 1861, it was sold to George D.H. Meyers in 1873 and the name changed to Meyers. [114]

170. STRAWBERRY STATION

Sources generally agree on Strawberry as a Pony Express station, and it appears on the 1861 Overland Mail Company contract as a station. [115] In 1856, a Mr. Swift and a Mr. Watson began operating the Strawberry Valley House as a hostelry. In 1859, a Mr. Berry managed station operations at Strawberry, and he established a partnership with Mr. Swan to build a road over the mountain. Berry also served as the stationkeeper when the Pony Express began. [116] Another source suggests the station's name, Strawberry, came from Berry's alleged practice of feeding travelers' horses with straw, while the owners had paid for hay. [117] In the early 1860s, artist Edward Vischer made a sketch of Strawberry Station. [118] Today a California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque at the site reads:

This popular resort and stopping place for stages and teams of the Comstock, established by Swift and Watson in 1856, became a remount station of the California Overland Pony Express on April 4, 1860. Here on that date Division Superintendent Bolivar Roberts waited with a string of mules to help Pony rider Warren Upson through the snowstorm on Echo Summit. [119]

171. WEBSTER'S/SUGAR LOAF HOUSE STATION

Webster's Station appears on the 1861 mail contract, and several sources list Websters or Webster's as a Pony Express station. [120] The station, which stood on the Placerville Carson Road, began as an original C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co. station in April 1860 and also served as a stop for teamsters and the stage lines until the late 1860s. Travelers also knew Webster's as Sugar Loaf House, from a nearby rocky mountain of the same name. Today, a California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque near the site reads:

This was the site of Webster's Sugar Loaf House, well-known stopping place during the Comstock Rush. Beginning in April 1860, it was used as a remount station of the California Overland Pony Express. In 1861 it became a horse change station for pioneer stage company and overland mail. [121]

172. MOSS/MOORE/RIVERTON STATION

This station served as the first Pony Express station eleven miles east of Sportsman's Hall at the junction of the American South Fork. Other sources identify this station as Moss, the name that appears on the 1861 mail contract. [122] Today a California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque at the site reads:

This was the site of a change station of the Pioneer Stage Company in the 1850's and 1860's. During 1860-1861, the California Overland Pony Express maintained here the first Pony remount station east of Sportsman's Hall. [123]

173. SPORTSMAN'S HALL STATION

A number of sources list Sportsman's Hall as a station, which also appeared on a contract station. [124] Herbert Ralph Cross identifies Sportsman's Hall as a "rider relay" or home station, fifty-six miles from Sacramento and twelve miles east of Placerville. [125] A California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque at the site reads:

This was the site of Sportsman's Hall, also known as the Twelve-Mile House. The hotel operated in the late 1850's and 1860's by John and James Blair. A stopping place for stages and teams of the Comstock, it became a relay station of the central overland Pony Express. Here, at 7:40 a.m., April 4, 1860, Pony rider William (Sam) Hamilton, riding in from Placerville, handed the Express mail to Warren Upson who, two minutes later, sped on his way eastward. [126]

174. PLACERVILLE STATION

Many sources include Placerville on their station lists for the Pony Express. [127] Louis Lepetit managed the station at Placerville, known earlier as Hangtown, as a roadside stop for travelers. During the days of the Pony Express, the building apparently stood on the east-bound side of the road from Placerville to Sacramento. However, building was moved to the west-bound side of the road in the 1880s and still existed as late as the 1950s. In 1954, a plaque was placed at this location reading: "To the Memory of the Riders of the Pony Express/1860-1861--the First Relay out of Sutter's Fort." [128] Today, a granite monument with a bronze plaque identifies the station site. The California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque located there reads:

Gold rush town and western terminus of the Placerville—Carson Road to the Comstock, Placerville was a relay station of the Central Overland Pony Express, April 4, 1860—June 30, 1861. Here on April 4, 1860, the first east-bound pony rider, William (Sam) Hamilton, changed horses, added one express letter to his mochela, and sped away for Sportsman's Hall. On July 1, 1861, Placerville became the western terminus of the Pony Express, until its discontinuance on October 26, 1861.

175. EL DORADO/NEVADA HOUSE/MUD SPRINGS STATION

Bloss identifies El Dorado as a station on an early route of the Pony Express along White Rock Road, between Placerville and Mormon Tavern. [129] In 1850 James Thomas erected a trading post at this site. One year later, the presence of a mining camp required the construction of several hotels and stores. One of these new buildings, known as the Nevada House, served as a remount station for the Pony Express. [130] Riders followed the White Rock Road route until June 1860, when the trail switched to the Green Valley Road. [131] According to the files of the California Landmarks Commission, El Dorado/Nevada House/Mud Springs was a trading post, emigrant stop, and mining camp of the 1850s, and then became one of the remount stations of the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co.. Here at the Nevada House on April 13, 1860, Pony Rider William (Sam) Hamilton changed horses while carrying the first west-bound mail of the Pony Express from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. [132] A California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque placed at the site reads:

El Dorado meaning "The Gilded One" was first known as Mud Springs from the boggy quagmire the cattle and horses made of a nearby watering place. Originally an important camp of the old Carson Emigrant Trail. By 1849-50, it had become the center of a mining district and the crossroads for freight and stage lines. At the height of the rush its large gold production supported a population of several thousand. [133]

176. MORMON TAVERN/SUNRISE HOUSE STATION

Bloss identifies Mormon Tavern as another station on the early White Rock Road route, between El Dorado and Fifteen-Mile House. [134] The station stood approximately eleven miles east of the Fifteen Mile House and one half mile west of Clarksville. [135] Pierson also identifies Old Mormon Tavern as Sunrise House. It stood across the road from the present Old Rose Springs Hotel, in Rescue, California. [136] Loving places Sunrise House between Placerville and Folsom. [137] In 1849, a Mormon by the name of Morgan established the station. In the 1850 El Dorado County tax rolls, A.A. Lathrop paid taxes on the property. By 1856, Winchell took over operation and increased the size of the station. By 1860, it served as an early relay station for the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co.. [138]

177. FIFTEEN MILE HOUSE STATION

Bloss lists Fifteen Mile House as a station on the early White Rock Road route, between Mormon Tavern and 5-Mile House. [139] The station, three miles east of Hangtown Crossing, stood on the south side of the White Rock-Clarksville Immigrant Road. In 1855, A. M. Plummer managed Fifteen Mile House as a roadside stop for travelers. Two years later, Henry Frederick William Deterding bought the property from Plummer and enlarged the structure. The two-story inn contained a dining room, kitchen, parlor, bar, dance hall, and a number of bedrooms. Two stages lines and the Pony Express used Fifteen Mile House as a relay station. Deterding managed the inn until 1875, when his son Charles took over. His son ran the operation until at least 1890. Unfortunately, the building no longer is extant. [140] A California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque at the site reads:

Owned an operated from 1857 as a stage station by Henry F.W. Deterding, this was the site of the second remount station of the Central Overland Pony Express during March-July 1860. Here on April 4, 1860, Sam (Bill) Hamilton with the first eastward mail of the Pony Express changed ponies, with Mormon Tavern as his next stop. [141]

178. FIVE MILE HOUSE STATION

Roy Bloss identifies Five Mile House as the last west-bound station on the early White Rock Road route, between Fifteen Mile House and Pleasant Grove House. [142] In 1856, A. B. Gilbert purchased the station, which had provided travelers with a resting place as early as 1849. West-bound rider Sam Hamilton changed horses at this relay station on April 13, 1860, before heading to Sacramento. Unfortunately, on June 14, 1863, a fire destroyed the station, which was also known as Magnolia House. [143] In recognition of the Five Mile Station a plaque was placed on the campus of California State University, Sacramento, on Jed Smith Drive, at the north side of Guy Westbridge. It reads:

Departing at 2:45 a.m. from the Alto Telegraph Co. in Sacramento, Pony Rider Sam (Bill) Hamilton carried the first mail eastward of the Central Overland Pony Express on April 4, 1860. Here, quickly changing ponies he sped on to the next stop at Fifteen Mile Station. [144]

179. PLEASANT GROVE HOUSE STATION

Bloss and Cross identify Pleasant Grove House as a station. [145] This sits on the Green Valley Road, approximately ten miles east of Folsom via the old Mormon Island Road. [146] In 1850-1851, Rufus Hitchcock constructed Pleasant Grove House. Ten years later, the inn was owned by Henry Wickwire. [147] Ira Rounds Sanders possibly managed station operations at the site for the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co., which served as a stopping place for travelers and a relay and shoeing station for the Pony Express. [148] Riders did not stop at Pleasant Grove until after June 1860, when the route switched from the earlier route along White Rock Road. [149] William Wallace Rust bought Pleasant Grove House in 1864 and turned its management over to his son-in-law, John Fleming. The two-story, gabled end, inn, with some alterations, and a front gable barn with shed extensions still exists today. [150] The Placerville Parlors of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West placed a Pony Express monument at the site in 1937.151 Today a California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque placed at the site reads:

This was the site of a popular roadhouse where the ponies of the Central Overland Pony Express were changed during July 1, 1860-June 30, 1861. From here the route of the Pony riders continued westward to Folsom and eastward through Rescue, Dry Creek Crossing, and the Missouri Flat to Placerville. [152]

180. DUROC STATION

L.C. Bishop and Paul Henderson, as well as the mail contract of 1861, identify Duroc as a station between Placerville and Folsom. [153] The location and additional information regarding this station are not available.

181. FOLSOM STATION

A number of sources identify Folsom as a station on the Green Valley Road route. [154] From July 1, 1860, to June 30, 1861, Folsom served as the last stop for west-bound Pony Express riders. From Folsom, the Sacramento Valley Railroad carried the Express mail to Sacramento. Folsom served as the western terminus of the Pony Express for perhaps two-thirds of its existence. [155] Currently, a California Registered Historical Landmark's plaque stands at the site. It reads:

Gold Rush and railroad town, Folsom became the western terminus of the Central Overland Pony Express on July 1, 1860. During its first few months, after April 4, 1860, the Sacramento Valley Railroad carried it between Sacramento and Folsom until Placerville was made the terminus July 1-October 26, 1861. [156]

182. SACRAMENTO STATION

Sacramento clearly served as a station site, and often referred to as the western terminus of the Pony Express. [157] The first Pony Express mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, arrived in Sacramento with rider Sam Hamilton on April 13, 1860, at 5:25 p.m. [158] Express mail bound for San Francisco reached its destination on the ferry Antelope. [159] From April 1860 to March 1861, the Pony Express terminal in Sacramento was in the Hastings Building, on the southwest corner of J and Second Streets. During this time, the Alta Telegraph Company and the California State Telegraph Company served as agents for the Pony Express respectively. Thereafter, the terminus was moved to the Adams Express Building, at 1014 Second Street, which served as a station from March 1861 to October 1861. During this time period, Wells Fargo, & Co. acted as agents for the Pony Express mail. [160]

183. BENICIA, MARTINEZ, AND OAKLAND STATIONS

Beyond Sacramento, for a short period of time during April 1860, a number of relay stations existed to carry Pony Express mail. En route to San Francisco, Benicia was the first of these stations west of Sacramento. It was followed by Martinez and then Oakland. [161] By May of 1860, Pony Express mail was transported directly to San Francisco via boat down the Sacramento River. These three stations were used only as relay stations when riders missed the steamers leaving for San Francisco for Sacramento and vice-versa. [162] Little additional information is available regarding these relay stations.

184. SAN FRANCISCO STATION

San Francisco was the final California stop in the Pony Express station list. [163] The office of the Alta Telegraph at 153 Montgomery Street, which was on the southwest corner of Montgomery and Merchant Streets, served as the western business headquarters for the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co. Western representative, William W. Finney oversaw all business activities in San Francisco for the owners Russell, Majors, and Waddell. [164]


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Last Updated: 17-Jan-2008