The Pony Express seems to be something of legend these days. But it was a real means of delivering mail for a short 18 months before being put out to pasture by the telegraph system.
The Pony Express was founded on April 3, 1860 to deliver mail from Missouri to California. At the time, there was no railroad out west, so it was a quick way to deliver mail and small packages via horseback.
The route was set up beginning in St. Joseph, Missouri and heading out west through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and California. This journey could be up to 100 miles a day for the rider. Horses were changed via relay points every 10 to 15 miles.
The first mail delivered by Pony Express took ten days to deliver. The fastest delivery was President Lincoln’s Inaugural Address which took a little under 8 days.
On October 26, 1861 the Pony Express was out of business. The transcontinental telegraph line proved to be a quicker and more efficient means of transporting messages, making the Pony Express obsolete.