Hometown Heritage

Readers Share stories of what makes their hometowns special.

| July/August 2010

  • Pony Express Rider
    History of the Pony Express Lies in St. Joseph, Missouri
    Brian Orr
  • American Falls
    World-Famous Waterfall: The beautiful, cascading waterfall of the American Falls in Niagara Falls, New York, draws as many as 2 million visitors each year.
    iStockphoto.com/peterspiro
  • Shrine of St. Patrick
    Town of St. Patrick, Missouri, is Proud of its Irish Heritage: Fashioned after St. Patrick’s Memorial Church of Four Masters in Donegal, Ireland, the Shrine of St. Patrick in St. Patrick, Missouri, has a rose window, a round tower, marble from Italy and Spain, and 37 stained glass windows made in Ireland.
    Postcard photo by Daryl Buechting
  • Camden, Arkansas, Public Library
    Three Historical Buildings Live in Camden, Arkansas: This little building, which was constructed in 1850 as a law office, became a public library in Camden, Arkansas, in 1906, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
    Mildred McKinney
  • Thomas Edison's Birthplace
    Edison’s Birthplace in Milan, Ohio, is Historical Landmark: Milan, Ohio, is proud of its ties to Thomas Edison, who was born there. His birthplace home is now a memorial and museum that offers guided tours.
    Courtesy Edison Birthplace
  • Arthur Capper
    Arthur Capper’s Childhood Home is in Longton, Kansas: Arthur Capper’s dream of becoming a newspaperman began in Longton, Kansas, when he lived there as a child.
    Courtesy KansasMemory.org, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply, www.kshs.org/research/collections/documents/photos/webuse.htm
  • 1966 Tornado Aftermath
    Devastating Tornado Rips Through Topeka, Kansas: An F5 tornado that hit Topeka, Kansas, on June 8, 1966, cut a four-block-wide swath of destruction through the capital city, destroying businesses, homes and vehicles. It also injured some 500 people, and claimed the lives of 16.
    Courtesy KansasMemory.org, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply, www.kshs.org/research/collections/documents/photos/webuse.htm
  • Willa Cather's Childhood Home
    Red Cloud, Nebraska, Was Author’s Window to the World: Willa Cather’s Childhood Home is just one of the many historic sites in Red Cloud, Nebraska.
    Ashley Nolan

  • Pony Express Rider
  • American Falls
  • Shrine of St. Patrick
  • Camden, Arkansas, Public Library
  • Thomas Edison's Birthplace
  • Arthur Capper
  • 1966 Tornado Aftermath
  • Willa Cather's Childhood Home

History of the Pony Express Lies in St. Joseph, Missouri

Although its existence was brief, spanning only 19 months, the Pony Express made a huge impact on the history of St. Joseph, Missouri.  

On April 3, 1860, a young man mounted a horse and rode off from St. Joseph, among a cheering crowd, on his way to Sacramento, California. That was the start of the Pony Express, America’s first “fast” mail line.  

In preparation for the job, the Pony Express collected 400 fast horses and hired 120 young, wiry, unmarried men as riders. There were 156 stations between St. Joseph and Sacramento, and each rider rode from one station to the next, an average of 10 to 15 miles, where he mounted a fresh horse before continuing on. Each trip was nearly 2,000 miles.  

The challenges and hurdles of the Pony Express riders were many. It is said that the brave, faithful riders carried two pistols and a knife for protection, and rode night and day to reach their destination, constantly watchful of attacks when reaching Indian country.  



The purpose of the Pony Express was to deliver letters to and from St. Joseph and Sacramento in 10 days, something unheard of at that time. The cost for sending a letter by Pony Express was a pricey $5 per half-ounce.  

Some sources say the first rider of the Pony Express was Johnny Fry, and others say it was Billie Richardson.  






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