The Pony Express has huge appeal today, even though it operated for only 18 months. Between April 1860 and October 1861, riders travelled day and night through all weathers to carry letters from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California and back. The one-way trip usually took 10 days. Riders changed horses every 12 to 15 miles, and rode 75 to 100 miles before turning the mail over to a fresh rider at one of the 40 or so "home stations" along the route.
The home station in Marysville, a stone barn built by Joseph Cottrell in 1859, was leased to the Pony Express in 1860. The barn is still standing and is now a museum. The riders probably slept at the nearby Barrett Hotel, located where the Ar-Ex Drug Store is today.
The first westbound rider left St. Joseph, Missouri early in the evening of April 3, 1860, arriving in Marysville the next morning. Historians differ as to his identity, but local tradition says his name was Johnny Fry.