Brian Lafler, Postmaster at Alliance, NE, participates in the annual National Pony Express Association Re-ride.
Brian is shown here in front of the Ficklin Springs Pony Express Station marker. Benjamin Ficklin had carried U.S. Army dispatches from Utah Territory and proposed that the government could provide express mail service using a horse relay.
The idea took off, and the Pony Express first ran in April 1860. They charged five dollars per half-ounce for mail (about $85 in today's money.) It ran once a week in each direction from St. Joseph, MO, and San Francisco, CA. Delivering in 10 days or fewer, it was better than the Overland Stage using 25 days, and the Mail Steamship Company which traveled through Panama taking four or more weeks.
We've come a long way at $16.50 for overnight Express Mail, but maybe USPS should take a look at delivering some mail by horseback again. What would the price of hay be compared to the price of gas?