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    The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the North American continent from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast, operating from April 1860 to October 1861. Messages were carried on a horseback relay across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains of the western United States. It briefly reduced the time for mail to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to around ten days. By traveling a slightly shorter route and using mounted riders rather than stagecoaches, the founders of the Pony Express hoped to establish their service as a faster and more reliable conduit for the mail and win away the exclusive government mail contract.

    Founded By William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors, it officially opened on April 3, 1860. The first trip, westbound, was made in 9 days and 23 hrs. The eastbound trip was made in 11 days and 12 hrs. Every 24 hrs they covered 250 mi. The Pony Express, established a year before the beginning of the American Civil War, reflected the need to provide fast and reliable communication with the West.

    By 1860, the fastest route was the Butterfield Stage line from St. Louis, Missouri, through El Paso, Texas, which took 25 days. It was almost 600 miles (950 km) shorter to deliver the mail over a central or northern route. There were concerns, however, whether these alternatives were viable during the winter snows.

    In 1854, Benjamin Franklin Ficklin, an employee of the firm of Russel, Major and Waddell is said to have first proposed a faster northern route to California Senator William M. Gwin. Russell, Majors and Waddell was one of the biggest outfitters for travelers on the Santa Fe and Oregon trails, operating out of a vast complex in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri. The firm als

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2007
    11th Sunday
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