Kansas Stations

List of Stations

  • Kickapoo
  • Goteschall
  • Kennekuk
  • Syracuse
  • Cold Spring Rock
  • Troy
  • Johnson's Ranch
  • Ellwood
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Two miles east of Hanover on SR243, Hollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site is the only unaltered Pony Express station remaining in its original location. This most westerly Pony Express station in Kansas, 123 miles west from St. Joseph, was also called Cottonwood Station because of its proximity to Cottonwood Creek.

Past this site ran the Oregon-California Trail, which was also the road to Fort Kearney, Nebraska. It was one of the most traveled routes to the West. It was here that Gerat H. Hollenberg erected a building in 1857 or 1858 believed to be the first house built in the county. It became his family home, a neighborhood store, a tavern, a stage station for the Overland Express, and in 1860 a station for the Pony Express.

The station was a long, frame structure with six rooms on the ground floor. In one of them Hollenberg kept a small stack of groceries and dry goods and operated as an unofficial post office. Another room served as a bar and tavern. The rest of the rooms were used for family living. Upstairs a loft ran the length of the building where stagecoach and Pony Express employees had a common sleeping room. Nearby was a large stable where fresh mounts were kept for the riders.

For more information, check out the Hollenberg Web Site.

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Marysville was settled mainly by travelers along a feeder of the Oregon Trail and was named for the wife of merchant Frank Marshall, who operated a ferry across the Big Blue River here. Among the emigrant parties who encamped near the crossing during the 1840's and 1850's was, in 1846, the Donner Party, destined for disaster in California's Sierra Nevada.

Original Pony Express Home Station No. 1 Museum (1859), at 106 South 8th Street, served as a headquarters for the mounted postal riders before the introduction of the telegraph to the western territories.

Pony Express rider Jack Keetley was the first rider to gallop west from Marysville the night of April 3, 1860, on the initial run to Sacramento, California.

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In Seneca, some seventy miles west of St. Joseph, Pony Express riders could look forward to a good meal and soft bed at the Smith Hotel, the first Home Station westbound.

The Smith Hotel became one of the best-known hotels in northeast Kansas Territory. John Smith established the hotel in 1858 at the present-day location of Fourth and Main Streets. The building also served as a restaurant and school. Although the Pony Express mail delivery system lasted only eighteen months, from 1860 to 1861, Smith's Hotel was one of Kansas's Home Stations. The station keeper was the backbone of the Pony Express event though the keepers did not receive as much attention in later history as the Pony Express riders. Seneca was an indispensable service point. Beside the Pony Express, and the Overland stage line, the local post office, established in December, 1858, was a mail station on the overland mail route with entrepreneurial John Smith as postmaster.

Source: http://www.seneca-ks.com/main_street/

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Log Chain

Log Chain (Sec. 19, T3S, R14E) was the relay station between Kickapoo and Seneca. It was on Locknane's Creek. There are a couple of theories about the name. One is that it was a corruption of the creek's name. Another is that since Log Chain was on the old military road where wagons often had trouble crossing the swampy ground around Locknane Creek, that wagon chains often broke there. In 1861, during the Pony Express, Don's Father N. H. Rising built a house there. It measured 24 x 40. The barn was 70 feet long.

The altered home is still there and at one time the American Pioneer Trails Association had one of their round, metal shilouette rider signs above the door. However, within the last 10 years it has disappeared. Occasionally, the NPEA was met by a neighborhood group with refreshments there when they did their yearly reride.

N. H. Rising, an honored Kansas pioneer, was born in 1824, in Herkimer County, N.Y., and reared in Steuben County, where he learned surveying and held various public offices. In April, 1857, he came to Kansas and made a claim adjoining Sabetha on the west. His wife and four children joined him in August 1858. His plank house was one of the first built here. During 1858-59, Messrs. Rising and George Lyons kept a store in Sabetha. In 1859, Mr. Rising leased the hotel at Granada, which he ran during 1859-60.

In 1861 he built the noted "Log Chain" ranch, at the crossing of the old military road over the creek of that name. It may be noted here that when General Albert Sidney Johnston was sent with United States troops to quiet the impudent Mormons, he had great trouble in crossing this creek, and scores of heavy chains were broken by the teams of twenty-four and thirty-six yoke of oxen hitched to the heavily-laden government wagons, and that the broken chains pile on the bank of the creek gave it the name of Log Chain Creek, when the country was first settled. Mr. Rising's "ranch" was a house 24X40 feet and a barn seventy feet long, and his business was most lively here for about eighteen months, at the end of which he built the "Reserve Station" on Plum Creek, and flourished here about five years, the men and teams of the old stage companies being regular patrons.

In 1867 he settled in Wetmore, and engaged in mercantile business until his death May 3, 1878. Mr. Rising was highly esteemed by all; was a man of few words, but imbued with much honor and good sense. He was buried by the Masonic fraternity, of which he was a valued member. Mrs. Rising was Mary E. Smith, of Tioga County, Pa., and the four children - Don C., Clara (Mrs. A. Huff, of Wetmore), Frank S., and Alma M. (Mrs. Dr. Graham of Wetmore) were all born in Steuben County, N.Y.

This information Excerpted from the "History of the State of Kansas", A.T. Andreas, Chicago, 1883, and provided by J. Glover, January 2001.

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Granada is the name for a town near Log Chain. The Pony Express/Military Road goes about a mile to the north of Granada. There is an old building in Granada that says Pony Express on it. It is possible that an occasional rider may have stopped in at Granada, but it was most probably used just after the Pony Express as a stage stop.

Information provided by Jackie Lewin, Curator of History, St. Joseph Museum

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