Pony Express Station Museum & Gift Shop: Gothenburg, Nebraska

Located in Gothenburg Nebraska is a historic Pony Express Station (well, as it turned out… the walls are original, the roof is new) serving as a museum and gift store. Now granted, it’s not in its original location, historically, it was on the far side of town [they moved it to a park in the middle of town because that was better for business] …. and most of crucial importance, it has no bathroom… But, that said if what you’re looking for is a decent excuse to stretch your legs while road-tripping down I-80, this is it.

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When I first arrived the exterior of the place met my expectations for a small museum dedicated to the historically important, if short-lived, Pony express

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Most people don’t realize this but while it’s a favored features of Hollywood Westerns, the Pony express only was in service for about 18 months, partially because only the government or insanely rich people could really afford it…

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“the cost to send a 1ounce (14 g) letter was $5.00[32] at the beginning, (about $130.00 to today’s standards). By the end period of the Pony Express, the price had dropped to $1.00 per ​12 ounce but even that was considered expensive (equivalent to $27 in 2017[33]) just to mail one letter.”
— from Wikipedia, but also told to me by the docent…  and the informational signs they had attached to the walls…

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And as I already knew, about 18 month after it began working the first electrical telegraph wires had been set along the same distance, GREATLY reducing the transit time for a message from 10 days by pony express rider

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Who had to ride the whole route on horse back…. albeit from station to station, each time switching to fresh horses

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the messages were locked into the “Mochila” which were designed to sit over the horse’s saddle, and could then be quickly switched from saddle to saddle, rather than on the person of the riders themselves

to the amount of time it took to send out all the dots and dashes of the message.

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That said, on closer inspections, mostly what it is, is a gift shop — with over 50% of the space dedicated to sales, and just enough museum pieces thrown in to justify calling it a museum… that and the woman who works there knows just enough about the pony express to give you a short history of it. To be honest was expecting a bit more than this

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EVERYTHING on this side of the building, which is quite tiny anyways, is gift shop

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