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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Salt Lake City in Salt Lake County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Unsung Heroes

 
 
Unsung Heroes Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 18, 2007
1. Unsung Heroes Marker
Inscription.  Strategically placed relay stations across the western frontier proved to be a major contributing factor to the early success of the Pony Express mail service. “Station keeps,” assigned to these outposts readied swift horses, fresh and rested, for each rider. Often working in pairs, day and night they kept a vigil for incoming riders.

Life at these stations covered a broad spectrum of living conditions depending upon location and situation. Home stations were generally better established and more accommodating, even luxurious by some standards. Remote relay stations, especially in the West, were often exceedingly primitive.

In St. Joseph, Missouri, Patee House was one of the most luxurious hostelries on the frontier. This four story brick building, which is still standing, was well known for its social life and gala balls and parties. Smith Hotel in Seneca, Kansas, and the Salt Lake House in Utah were other prominent hotels which served as comfortable home stations for riders and company personnel.

West of Salt Lake City and across the Great Basin to California, accommodation and quality of life tended
Journalists' descriptions of the Pony Express image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 18, 2007
2. Journalists' descriptions of the Pony Express
Horace Greeley described the site of Dugway Station as: "about the forlornest spot I ever saw."
to go downhill. Hot, dry summers and bitter cold winter often were the only companions for station keepers. On other days, loneliness and idle time were interlaced with fending off horse thieves and Indian attacks. Frequently exposed to danger, many lost their lives in this daring American enterprise.

Though the Pony Express has become a romanticized legend in American history, the station keeps—those who kept the horse waiting and bid “Godspeed” to the rider as he galloped away—are the true unsung heroes of the Pony Express.
 
Erected by National Pony Express Association - Utah Division.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Pony Express National Historic Trail series list.
 
Location. 40° 45.114′ N, 111° 49.201′ W. Marker is in Salt Lake City, Utah, in Salt Lake County. Marker can be reached from Sunnyside Avenue. It is in “This is the Place” Heritage Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2601 Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City UT 84108, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The National Pony Express Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Sesquicentennial Mormon Trail Wagontrain
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); This is the Place Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Crowds Cheered On . . . (approx. 0.2 miles away); Donner Hill (approx. one mile away); Sisters of the Holy Cross (approx. 2.4 miles away); L.D.S. Tenth Ward Square (approx. 2.6 miles away); The Old Sugar House (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Salt Lake City.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,798 times since then and 37 times this year. Last updated on August 28, 2010, by Bryan R. Bauer of Kearns, Ut 84118. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 28, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 2, 2020