Pony Express Statue - Sacramento, CA

Pony Express Plaza, Sacramento, CA Around town she was known as the "Horse Trough Lady". Sophie Pleasants Comstock was a familiar sight on local thoroughfares where she drove her own surrey, and fretted over the lack of public horse troughs. Miss Comstock died in 1915 never to know how her interest in horses would take significance today portraying an important event in Sacramento's heritage. She willed the City of Sacramento about $2000 for a monument "of great beauty which impresses its beholder with the consciousness of everlasting life and is a never-ceasing source of noble inspiration."

On December 21, 1961, the Sacramento City Council appointed a 20 member Commission to develop plans for Miss Comstock's bequest - which then amounted to about $11,000. Commissioners decided it was her wish to memorialize animals, and they considered a wide variety. But because of Miss Cornstock's interest in horses, and Sacramento's role in the Pony Express the clear choice was the erection of a monument in honor of the historic mail service.

Pony Express Statue, Sacramento, CA The city's Sophie Comstock Memorial Commission hoped that by 1976 construction would be under way on a heroic-sized bronze statue in tribute to the Pony Express. The monument, estimated to cost S70,000, would mark the western terminus of the historic mail route at 2nd and J streets in Old Sacramento.

The commission worked with the state to secure land at the northeast corner of 2nd and J streets across from the Hastings Building, for the statue and Pony Express Plaza. Three criteria were set for the statue. 1 ) The design was to be as authentic as possible. 2) The statue was to be executed by a western sculptor. 3) It was to be of bronze and cast in California.

Thomas Holland, of Santa Monica, was selected as the artist. Mr. Holland cast 200 copies of his clay model, aiding the commission's efforts to raise funds by contributing $200 from the sale of each model of the Pony Express Statue that he sold.

Pony Express Statue, Sacramento, CA By the fall of 1973 Holland had made a one-third life-sized maquette of the sculpture. This was used as the model for the sculpture which is one-and-one-half-times life-size. The statue was finally dedicated in 1976 as part of the National Bicentennial celebration in honor of the contribution of the Pony Express.

Holland's nephew posed for the young rider. Details of the horse's equipment and the Mobil were based on historical research. Horseshoes were made by Neil Fawcett, a Southern California blacksmith and a great-grandson of a Pony Express rider.

Information researched and provided by Larry Carpenter.

The current value of the replicas appears to be in the $1,500.00 - $2,500.00 range, but that is just an estimate. Holland lived to the ripe old age of 87 and recently passed away on January 3, 2004 in Mexico.

Information provided by Bill Pettis, March 2003. Bill also provided this link to a virtual memorial for Holland.