Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pony Express Artifacts ... and Stuff

A footnote from history by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Do you like to wander museums and wonder about the people who owned or used the things on display? I've been that way for years. Learning about the Pony Express for the next novel took me to some out-of-the-way museums in Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. Today I thought I'd share some of the things I saw that provided me a tactile connection to people in the past. 

This quilt is on display in Washington, KS and is said to have been made and used by Sophia Hollenberg. The table and pitcher and bowl to the right are also attributed to the Hollenbergs. Sophia and Gerat Hollenberg ran Hollenberg Station, still on its original site and a fascinating place to visit. Thinking of the woman who lived here and who saw literally thousands of covered wagons pass by on the way west, I wonder ... what was that like?

Here is Hollenberg Station today ... walking from the visitor's center to the station, visitors cross the California-Oregon Trail. I imagined creaking wheels and maybe even a child laughing as they trotted along beside the family wagon, heading out after camping between the station and Cottonwood Creek. 

The Hollenberg's first station was a log cabin. This is the kind of stove Mrs. Hollenberg cooked on. (My family would have had to endure a lot of second-rate fare while I figured this one out!) 

Pony Express Riders were issued tin horns to blow as they approached a station. But the horns weren't really necessary, as sound carried far, and the horns were soon abandoned. This one is on display at the Washington County KS museum.   

This wagon attachment is on display at the visitor's center attached to Hollenberg Station in Kansas. Do you know what it is?

What small museum have you visited and loved? Tell us about it!

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Stephanie Grace Whitson has been writing novels since 1994. Thomas Nelson published her debut novel, Walks the Fire, in 1994. In May of this year, Messenger by Moonlight will tell the story of Annie Paxton and her brothers Frank and Emmet. Annie dreams of living in the "big city." When her brothers sign on to be Pony Express riders and get Annie a job as a cook at a remote station in Nebraska Territory .... well. You can imagine, right. Learn more at            
To learn more about Stephanie and her books, visit or


  1. Glad you enjoyed it, Melanie. Thanks for letting me know.

  2. Would love to see the quilt opened. What fun! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  3. Pony Express Museum in Marysville,KS and The Pioneer Museum in Minden, NE.

    1. I've been to both and truly enjoyed both. In fact, it's time to go back LOL

  4. I love museums! Would love to see that one. We have in our small town of Ripley, WV what they call America's Smallest Community Museum - and it is very small - but I like it. I've been to a few other museums. Pearl Buck's House that she was born in is located in Hillsboro, WV and is a neat one to go to. Thanks for the post.

  5. I have never read Pearl Buck ... need to remedy that. You might enjoy Judith Miller's new series set in West Virginia. I just finished The Brickmaker's Bride. There are 3 books in the series ... that's Book 2. Thanks for commenting, Janet.