A few weeks ago (April 3rd 2015) was the 155th anniversary of the pony Express! I have gathered some paintings, sculptures (including the very first “Pony Express” themed monument!) and statues of brave riders and their trusty steeds that galloped at break- neck speed from St. Joseph, Missouri to Old Sacramento, California carrying the U.S. mail. Even though it was a very heroic deed, I can’t help but think of all of the horses that were injured and broken down due to being ridden into the ground.
~The Pony Express~
April 3rd 1860 to October 24 1861 (18 months)
The Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses during the 19 months of it’s time. The Pony Express was founded by William H. Russell, William B. Waddell and Alexander Majors. One of the main reasons for the Pony Express was because of the Civil War and the need for faster communication to the West. Men riding horses would carry saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail. The service opened officially on April 3, 1860, when riders left simultaneously from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The first westbound trip was made in 9 days and 23 hours and the eastbound journey in 11 days and 12 hours. The riders covered 250 miles in a 24-hour day. Those horses had it hard.
The express route was extremely dangerous , but only one mail delivery was ever lost. The service lasted only 19 months until October 24, 1861, when the completion of the Pacific Telegraph line ended the need for its existence. Although California relied upon news from the Pony Express during the early days of the Civil War, the horse line was never a financial success, leading its founders to bankruptcy.
Every year people from around the country ride the Pony Express route with their horses. Saddle up! The event takes place in 58 days…. for more information go to their web site: http://www.xphomestation.com
Sculptor: Hermon A MacNeil
Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
The first Pony Express Statue was unveiled in St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 20, 1940, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Pony Express. The bronze statue was created by Hermon A MacNeil. The $16,000 Pony Express Statue in St. Joseph weighs two tons.
Sculptor: Dr. Richard Bergen
Location: Pony Express Plaza, Marysville, Kansas
Statue Weight: 3600 pounds
Statue Height: 10ft high x 15ft long
Year Created: 1984 (Took 13 months to complete)
In 1984, Bob Galloway, commissioned Richard Bergen, a Salina, Kansas artist, to design this sculpture for the City of Marysville. The sculpture, more than ten feet tall, fifteen feet long, and weighing over 3600 pounds, took thirteen months to complete. It was made to the likeness of Jack Keetley, a local Pony Express rider and his pony. Dedication was held on July 4, 1985, on the 125th Anniversary of the Pony Express. Dignitaries present were Bill Arant, National President of the National Pony Express Association and Kansas Governor John Carlin. After the dedication there was an all horse-drawn parade that was watched by over 10,000 people.
Sculptor: Thomas Holland
Location: State Historic Park ,Sacramento, California
Statue Weight: 3,800 lbs
Statue Height: 15 feet, (with base)
The Pony Express rider’s clothes were based on a paragraph in
Mark Twain’s book Roughing It, published in 1872.
Rider’s saddle and Mochilla (what they carried the mail in) were modeled after originals that are in the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
Bit and bridle were designed after military tack of the 1850s.
The sculptor gave him a wide brimmed hat instead of a skull cap, which the riders usually wore.
Statue took over 2 years to design and build, including 9 months casting and finishing by Vianello Art Bronzes.
Hope you all like today’s post! Come back this Tuesday:)
Huh? What? Well, I will believe that when I see flying Shetlands !