Dennis Cassinelli: Eastern Nevada Pony Express stations 1, 2 and 3
In a previous series of articles, I described the Nevada Pony Express Stations in western Nevada, starting from the west. These 16 stations were about half of the 34 Pony Express Stations in Nevada.
In the next series of articles, I will describe the remainder of the Pony Express Stations in the eastern half of the state, starting at the Nevada/Utah state line. Each article will describe about three to five stations. The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of stations from the Nevada/Utah State line. There will be about one Pony Express article each month.
Prairie Gate/Eight Mile Station (1)
Prairie Gate or Eight Mile Station was the first Nevada Pony Express Station when traveling west from the Nevada/Utah State line. It was built a couple months after the trail opened to break up the long ride between Utah’s westernmost station, Deep Creek, to Antelope Springs in Nevada. The premature end of Antelope Springs also made Prairie Gate an integral stop. Several notable sources list this as a Pony Express Station, even though it was not listed on the 1861 mail contract and its exact location remains unknown. The station possibly existed on the present-day Goshute Indian Reservation or at Eight Mile Springs. It is believed this station was probably erected after July 1861 and was part of the Pony Express Route for only approximately three months.
Antelope Springs Station (2)
The Antelope Springs Station, which was listed on the 1861 mail contract, has been identified by several sources as a Pony Express Station. It was the second Pony Express Station in Nevada when traveling West from the Nevada/Utah State line. In 1859, George Chorpenning constructed this station, that later became a Pony Express Station. On June 1, 1860, Indians reportedly attacked the station and burned the structures. When English traveler Richard Burton visited the site in late 1860, he found a corral, but no new station house. Burton also noted that the station burned the previous June. According to Burton, “the corral still stood; we found wood in plenty, water was lying in an adjoining (creek) bottom, and we used the two to brew our tea.” The station was not rebuilt until the Overland Stage and Mail Company took over the line, after Burton’s Visit.
In 1976, a log structure with a flat roof, corral and two sources of water remained at the station site. Authorities disagree on whether the original station stood within the corral, or still exists as the log hut.
Spring Valley Station (3)
Though Spring Valley Station was not listed on the 1861 mail contract as a station, and its exact location remains unknown, sources generally agree on its identity as a Pony Express station. This was the third pony Express Station when traveling west from the Nevada/Utah line. This station did not exist when Richard Burton traveled through the area on Oct. 5, 1860, however, the Pony Express did stop at a site somewhere in the valley. Constant Dubail or a man named Reynal possibly served as stationkeepers at Spring Valley. When Pony Express rider Elijah N. “Uncle Nick” Wilson stopped at the station for something to eat, he found two young boys managing the operations. While Wilson was there, several Indians stole the station’s horses. Wilson reportedly was killed when he tried to stop them.
The Overland Mail Co., line maintained a station in Spring Valley until 1869, which also possibly served as a Pony Express stop after July 1861. The Overland station stood on property owned by Reed Robinson in 1976. Foundations exist near a turn-of-the century stone house on the property. Townley locates the Overland station site within the corrals, southwest of the stone house. Another theory suggests that the station stood on the present Henroid Ranch, an area that provided a shorter route to Antelope Springs Station through the Antelope Mountains.
This article is by Dayton author and historian, Dennis Cassinelli. You can order his books at a discount on his blog at denniscassinelli.com.