Seneca in Nemaha County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Smith Hotel
Captain John E. Smith was Seneca's first entrepreneur. In 1858 he built a simple hotel and tavern on this site. He also built a wooden bridge over the Nemaha River that bypassed the risky ford crossing two miles north at Richmond. These developments convinced the firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell to run their Overland Stage and Pony Express routes through Seneca. Smith Hotel became the first Pony Express Home Station west of St. Joseph.
The hotel offered comfortable beds and good meals for weary travelers heading west. Pony Express riders were encouraged to avoid the tavern and head straight to bed for a good night's rest before setting out the next day.
After the end of the Pony Express in 1861, Smith sold his hotel and Main Street grew up around it. In 1870, the first railroad arrived in Seneca and merchants wanted more prosperous-looking brick and stone buildings on Main. A brick addition to the right of the original hotel added more modern rooms. Eventually the original wooden structure was lifted and moved down Main to the north side of 7th Street where it became a rooming house. The space on the corner was filled in 1885 with this brick building.
Erected by City of Seneca and Kansas Humanities Council.
Marker series. Pony Express National Historic Trail marker series.
Location. 39° 50.046′ N, 96° 3.692′ W. Marker is in Seneca, Kansas, in Nemaha County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and 4th Street, on the left when traveling west on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 402 Main Street, Seneca KS 66538, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pony Express Home Station (here, next to this marker); The Felt Block (within shouting distance of this marker); The First National Bank (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Railroads (about 300 feet away); The Buggy Store (about 500 feet away); City Hall (about 600 feet away); The Seneca Free Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Seneca Post Office (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Seneca.
Also see . . .
1. Pony Express National Historic Trail. (Submitted on March 17, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Main Street Historic District, Seneca KS. (Submitted on March 17, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Kansas Stations for the Pony Express. (Submitted on March 17, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 17, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 303 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 17, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.