See Sharon Gay's photos and slideshow below.
Nevada State Parks hosted the public at Mormon Station State Historic Park in Genoa on Tuesday, June 8, at 5:30 p.m. for a Pony Express Celebration.
The free event lasted until 7:30 p.m. The celebration included a Pony Express rider (Steve Adams) arriving in Genoa, galloping into the stockade, exchanging the mailbag with the next rider who galloped off into the sunset. The mail will arrive in Carson City about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday June 9, Fort Churchill about 2 p.m. Wednesday June 9, and Schellbourne mid-morning Saturday June 12.
Genoa, Nevada’s oldest permanent settlement was a stop along the original Pony Express route. Genoa, sometimes referred to by its original name, Mormon Station, was established as a trading post along the Overland Emigrant Trail during the California Gold Rush about a decade before the Pony Express originated. Today, the charming town is a tourist favorite, with great dining, drinking and shopping options, historic buildings, quaint bed and breakfast lodging, family friendly festivals and events, and a replica of the town’s first structure at Mormon Station State Historic Park.
The Genoa or “Mormon Station” of the Pony Express existed from 1860 – 1861. The route began at St. Joseph, Missouri and ended at Sacramento, California. The historic marker was dedicated June 9, 1934 by Citizens of Nevada.
Each year the Pony Express Association re-enacts the actual ride that took place from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in 1860 and 1861, which is a 10-day, 1,966-mile journey. Members of the Pony Express Association were in Genoa as part of the 150th Year Celebration of the Pony Express. More than 600 riders on horseback will participate in the annual reride from June 6 to June 26. Riders will carry Commemorative Letters in a Mochila, Pony Express style. The cachets, honor Pony Express history.
The Gardnerville Volunteer Fire Department was at the celebration - having their fund raiser barbecue of burgers and bratwurst in the park.
A short presentation on the Pony Express was given while waiting for the Pony Express rider to arrive.
A local family band, the “Old Melodian Minstrels,” was dressed in historic clothes and playing old-time folks songs, including yodeling, washboard and spoon playing and more.
Sesquicentennial Re-Ride Events in Nevada 2010
Events are planned at four Nevada stations. The mail will arrive in Genoa about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday June 8, Carson City about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday June 9, Fort Churchill about 2 p.m. Wednesday June 9, and Schellbourne mid-morning Saturday June 12.
The 150th Anniversary Re-Ride ends on June 26th with a river crossing, a parade through downtown St. Joseph, swinging past the Pony Express Monument, and ending at the Patee House Museum.
"Presently the (stagecoach) driver exclaims: 'Here he comes!,'" Twain wrote. "Every neck is stretched further, and every eye straining wider. Away across the endless dead level of the prairie a black speck appears against the sky, and it is plain it moves. Well, I should think so! In a second or two it becomes a horse and rider, rising and falling, rising and falling -- sweeping toward us nearer and nearer -- growing more and more distinct, more and more sharply defined -- nearer and still nearer, and the flutter of hoofs comes faintly to the ear -- another instant a whoop and a hurrah from our upper deck, a wave of a rider's hand, but no reply, and a man and horse burst past our excited faces, and go winging away like a belated fragment of a storm!" _Mark Twain, Roughing It.
Most historical accounts and legends agree that Nevada’s roughly 400 miles of trail were among the toughest and most dangerous of the "Pony" route. Searing heat, frigid cold, blinding sandstorms, freezing blizzards, parched alkaline flats, bandits, and the bloody Paiute Indian War made the section of trail between the Sierra Nevada and Utah’s Deep Creek Station a veritable no man’s land, “a challenge to the very idea of life,” as Joseph J. Di Certo writes in his book, The Saga of the Pony Express. From Nevada Magazine.
Many of the stations in present-day Nevada were often set ablaze by warring Paiute and Shoshone, the station keepers often killed. The history of the American West is marred by cruel treatment of native peoples by settlers and the army, and these raids on Pony Express stations marked the boiling-over points for many bands of Paiute and Shoshone.