Museums Along the Trail

Although portions of the National Historic Pony Express Trail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco, California, either require four-wheeled vehicles or land owners’ permission for access, a large part of the trail may be followed by automobile. There are a number of museums along the route, the most notable are listed below:

Lexington Historical Museum
Patee House Museum
St. Joseph Museum
Pony Express Museum
Original Pony Express Home Station No. 1 Museum
Hollenburg Pony Express Station State Historic Site
Rock Creek Station Historic Park
Harold Warp Pioneer Village
Fort Kearny State Historic Park
Robert Henri Museum and Walkway
Gothenburg Pony Express Station
Lincoln County Historical Museum
Buffalo Bill State Historic Park
Chimney Rock Station Museum
Scotts Bluff National Monument
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Fort Caspar Museum
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center: Construction Progress Report
The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument spans Interstate 80 near Kearney, Nebraska.
Fort Bridger State Historic Site
Northeastern Nevada Museum
Churchill County (Nevada) Museum and Archives
Fort Churchill State Historic Park
El Dorado County Museum
Folsom Museum
Wells Fargo History Museum
Discovery Museum, Sacramento, California

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Lexington Historical Museum

112 South 13th Street
Lexington, MO 64067
(816) 259-6313

Open June - September
Every Day 1-4:30pm

Open October
Weekends 1-4:30pm

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, built in 1846 in the Greek Revival style, now houses the Lexington Historical Museum. The museum features a major display of art memorabilia about the famed Pony Express, owned and operated by the Lexington firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell. The museum also contains a collection of Civil War (Battle of Lexington) art and relics, and old photographs of Lexington's past.

The northeast corner of 10th and Main is the former site of the building housing the freight offices of Russell, Majors and Waddell which collapsed in the 1920's.

The Waddell home, 1704 South, built in the 1840's, was purchased by William Waddell in 1869 for his son Robert and heirs.

The Shea House, 1611 South, is probably the oldest house now standing in Lexington, It was built 1836-1839 and has fine Greek fet on the cornice. It was formerly the home of the Waddell family.

William Waddell is buried in Machpelah Cemetery located south of town.

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Patee House Museum

12th and Penn Street
St. Joseph, MO 64507
(816) 232-8206

When it opened in 1858, the Patee House was one of the finest hotels west of the Mississippi and was the headquarters of the Pony Express. The museum contains the reconstructed Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad and Pony Express Offices and Pony Express artifacts. The house of Jesse James is adjacent. There is a Pony Express Statue (one of five) located downtown.

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Original Pony Express Home Station No. 1 Museum

106 S. 8th Street
Marysville, KS 66508
(913) 562-3052

Open Daily, 9-5

This home station served as headquarters for the Pony Express 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.

There is a Pony Express statue located just west of town.

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Harold Warp Pioneer Village

US 6/34 & SR 10
Open Daily, 8:00am Minden, NE 68959
(308) 832-1181

The Harold Warp Pioneer Village displays more the 50,000 historical items that depict America’s progress since 1830. Among the collection of historic buildings is the original Pumpkinseed Creek Pony Express Station. This crude cabin was located at Pumpkinseed Creek Crossing six miles south of Bridgeport, and was the subject of William Henry Jackson’s famous painting "Changing Horses, Pumpkinseed Station, Nebraska".

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Fort Kearny State Historic Park

Route 4
Kearney, NE 68847
(308) 234-9513

Open Daily, 9:00am - 5:00pm

Fort Kearny State Historic Park hosts a recreated blacksmith/carpenter shop, stockade, and powder magazine. Visitors can view the marked sites of former buildings and the remaining earthworks. Fort Kearny was important mail stop. The nearest Pony Express station was at nearby Doby Town, two miles southwest of the Fort. There was a home station in Kearney County near the town of Lowell that would be seven miles from Fort Kearny. A visitor center has artifacts of the fort and a slide show.

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Robert Henri Museum and Walkway

218 E. 8th Street
Cozad, NE 69310
(308) 784-4154

Open (June - Labor Day) Mon - Sat, 9 - 5

This museum commemorates the artist career of the town’s native son and preserves several historic buildings including the Willow Island Pony Express Station. This cabin, built about 1849, was originally located on the south bank of the Platte River south of Darr. First used as a post to trade with the Indians, it was later used as a stage and Pony Express station.

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Gothenburg Pony Express Station

Ehmen Park
Gothenburg, NE
308/537-3505 or 1-800-482-5520

Phone for schedule

The original Gothenburg Pony Express station is located in Ehmen Park. It houses a small gift shop with Pony Express memorabilia.

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Lincoln County Historical Museum

2403 Buffalo Bill Avenue
North Platte, NE
(303)532-4795

Open Mon - Sat, 9-6

A main museum building contains memorabilia and artifacts relating to the Indians and settlers in the area. Also on the grounds is Railroad Town, which includes a train depot, schoolhouse, church, log cabin, barn, general store, Pony Express blacksmith shop, the Fredrickson House, and Fort McPherson's headquarters building.

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Buffalo Bill State Historic Park

3-1/2 miles, nw via US30 and Buffalo Bill Ave
North Platte, NE
(308) 532-4795

Open Daily, 10 - 8

North Platte was the home of Col. William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. The State Park is the site of his home. The house, barn and other buildings contain various mementos depicting Cody's personal life and his Wild West Show.

Cowboy cookouts are served Wed - Fri, 6pm.

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Chimney Rock Station Museum

Route 2, SR 92
Bayard, NE 69664

Open Daily, 9-6

Rising 470 feet above the North Platte River Valley, Chimney Rock was the most celebrated of all natural formations along the Oregon Trail. This solitary spire marked the end of plains travel and the beginning of the rugged mountain portion of the journey. Chimney Rock Station was located between Chimney Rock and the North Platte River and was an important Pony Express stop between stations at Courthouse Rock and Ficklin’s Springs.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

2 mi. s. of Bayard, US 26
(308) 586-1850

Open Daily in late afternoon
Reservations needed

Oregon Trail Wagon Train offers a 20-minute covered wagon tour on the Oregon Trail. The tour passes the site of the Chimney Rock Pony Express Station and is followed by a cookout and songfest.

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Scotts Bluff National Monument

Gering, NE

Open Daily, 8-5

The Museum covers overland trail history, artifacts, and paintings, in particular, an extensive collection of the paintings of William Henry Jackson.

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Fort Caspar Museum

4001 Fort Caspar Road
Casper, WY 82601
(307) 235-8462

Open Mon-Fri, 9-6; Sat, 8-5; Sun, 12-5

The center piece of the Platte Bridge Station and Fort Caspar was the bridge built here by Louis Guinard in 1859-60 and used until Fort Caspar was abandoned in 1867. The museum is a reconstruction of Fort Caspar. An interpretive building has exhibits of Indian and pioneer artifacts that would be of particular interest to Pony Express and Overland Trail buffs.

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Fort Bridger State Historic Site

PO Box 35
Fort Bridger, WY
(307) 782-3842

Open Daily, 9-6

Strategically located on the Black’s Fork River, Fort Bridger was second only to Fort Laramie as the most important outfitting point for the emigrants and Mormons traveling the Oregon Trail. Many of the buildings constructed during Army occupation from 1858-90 still stand, preserved and maintained as a reminder of Wyoming’s past. A museum houses artifacts of Indian cultures and the periods of military occupancy.

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Northeastern Nevada Museum

1515 Idaho Street
Elko, NV 89801
(702) 738-3418

Open Mon-Sat, 9-5

The museum chronicles natural history of this portion of Nevada through exhibits pertaining to the area’s Indian heritage and mining tradition. The Ruby Valley Pony Express Station was relocated here in 1960.

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Fort Churchill State Historic Park

7 mi. s. on US 95
Silver Springs, NV
(702) 577-2345

Open Daily, 8:30-4:30

This U.S. Army outpost was built in 1860 along the Carson River after early settlers demanded protection against Indian attacks. Although the fort is now in ruins, a visitor center reconstructs its colorful history with interpretive exhibits. The headquarters building, which was a stopping point for the Pony Express, still stands.

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El Dorado County Museum

100 Placerville Drive
Placerville, CA
(916) 621-5865

Open Wed-Sat, 10-4; Sun, 1-4

Placerville, originally known as "Old Dry Diggin’s," became so prosperous and lawless that lawbreakers were hanged first singly, then in pairs. As a result, the settlement was named "Hangtown". In July 1861, Placerville became the western terminus of the Pony Express. The Museum houses exhibits that reflect local history.

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Folsom Museum

Sutter Street
Folsom, CA

Folsom was the western terminus of the Pony Express from July 1860 to June 1861. Mail was carried from St. Joseph, Missouri, to the Wells Fargo Building where it was transported to the Sacramento Valley Railroad, which carried it into Sacramento. The museum has exhibits on the history of the area, as well as, a display about the Pony Express.

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Wells Fargo History Museum

420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94101
(415) 396-2619

Open Mon-Fri, 9-5

The Museum, in the Wells Fargo Bank Building. contains a stagecoach, relics of the gold rush, nuggets, western franks and stamps (including an extensive representation by the Pony Express), and other articles from 1848 to the present.

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Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum History Center
101 I Street
Old Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: (916) 264-7057

Hours:

Tuesday - Sunday: 10am to 5pm
Closed Mondays except for Holidays and School Tours.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day

Summer Hours (June, July and August):

Daily: 10am to 5pm

Hours subject to seasonal change.
Please call to confirm.

The Discovery Museum currently has an exhibit about the Pony Express on display through September 4, 2001.

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