Map Maker: American Pioneer Trails Association
Date of Original: 1960-1961
Original Size: 10 x 29.5 inches (25.5 cm x 75 cm)
This interesting pictorial map reproduction depicts the route for the Pony Express, which runs from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. Each of the 184 stops along the 1,900 mile route is noted. Vignettes of places through which their route passed denote such scenes as wagon trains crossing prairies, an enormous herd of buffalo with a small group of indigenous warriors in pursuit, riders approaching forts.
“Wanted:Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages $25 per week.” Thus read the apocryphal advertisement which, whether historically accurate or not, succinctly conveys the dangers faced by Pony Express riders. Few images are more familiar or powerful of the American West in the mid-1860s than that of the lone rider galloping the across hostile Indian territories. While the image of the riders is well-known, actual reliable information regarding the Pony Express is scarce.
Despite this, the Pony Express is one of the most celebrated and enduring chapters in the history of the United States. Though the service was active for only a short time, its activities resulted in a story of the bravery, bravado, and entrepreneurial risk which wove together to create the very fabric of the Old West. This pictorial map was commissioned in commemoration of the Pony Express Centennial.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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