Nebraska May 30, 2019
Ride Into The Past At This Enthralling Pony Express Station In Nebraska
Just about everyone has heard of the Pony Express. But have you ever wondered what it was like to be one of those brave men who risked life and limb to deliver letters and news? This fascinating museum in a small Nebraska town lets you learn more about this unforgettable time in American history.
The tiny Dawson County city of Gothenburg is home to two original Pony Express Stations. There aren't many of them left; the fact that two have survived in Gothenburg for more than 150 years since the Pony Express was discontinued is pretty remarkable. The legacy of this historic Wild West service permeates the whole city.
One of the original stations has been turned into a museum that you can visit during the summer months. Next time you're nearby, be sure to stop in to visit and learn a bit more about the fascinating Pony Express.
The museum is located in a tiny log cabin, and it won't take long to see everything. But chances are there's something here that will be new to you, even if you already know a good deal about the Pony Express.
It's fascinating just to walk in the footsteps of the intrepid Pony Express riders. To know that this is where tired horses were traded for fresh ones and bags of mail were handed off is pretty amazing.
While the building itself is original, this is not its original location. It was moved and reassembled in the city park in 1931, 70 years after the Pony Express was discontinued. It has been open to the public and operating as a museum since 1954. Before the Pony Express, it was a fur trading post; after the Pony Express, it was a stagecoach station and private home, among other things. But its most enduring identity will always be the Sam Macchette Station.
The artifacts inside really illustrate what life was like for those who lived through the arduous job. There are furniture and objects used by the riders and the administrators who worked here.
Personal items like this buffalo hide coat really serve to bring the era into focus. Can you imagine braving the cold on a horse going full speed wearing this incredibly heavy covering?
You'll also get to see posters and photographs depicting some memorable moments on the Pony Express. See some of the riders and the difficult route they traversed during the short existence of the legendary delivery service.
During the on-season, you'll find a volunteer at the museum who will be happy to walk you through the exhibits and explain the interesting collection of items. In the off-season, just find a radio and turn it to 88.1 FM, where you'll the whole story of the station. Either way, you'll leave feeling like a true Pony Express expert.
The Pony Express only operated for about 18 months between 1860 and 1861, but it has left a timeless stamp on American history. There were approximately 170 stations between Missouri and California, and today only a handful remain. Walking through this space and seeing firsthand some of the tools and objects used by the riders is a truly memorable experience.
While you're there, be sure to check out the small gift shop. The proceeds go toward keeping the museum open and admission free, so you can actually feel good about taking home a few souvenirs.
You can visit the Gothenburg Pony Express Station 7 days a week from April through October; the rest of the year, you can visit by appointment only. Check out
the museum’s website for detailed hours and much more information. Address: 1500 Lake Avenue, Gothenburg, NE, 69138. Remember that admission is always free!
After you’ve worked up an appetite learning about all this history, be sure to stop by one of Gothenburg’s other awesome offerings,
this delightful barn restaurant.