Pony Express Remount Station at Woodfords (No. 805 California Historical Landmark)
California Historical Landmarks Program
Historical Landmarks are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of statewide significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value. Historical Landmarks are eligible for registration if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type in the state or within a large geographic region
2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of California
3) Is a prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in a region of a pioneer architect, designer or master builder
California’s Landmark Program began in the late 1800s with the formation of the Landmarks Club and the California Historical Landmarks League. In 1931, the program became official when legislation charged the Department of Natural Resources—and later the California State Chamber of Commerce—with registering and marking buildings of historical interest or landmarks.
In 1948, Governor Earl Warren created the California Historical Landmarks Advisory Committee to increase the integrity and credibility of the program. Finally, this committee was changed to the California Historical Resources Commission in 1974. Information about registered landmarks numbered 770 onward is kept in the California Register of Historical Resources authoritative guide. Landmarks numbered 669 and below were registered prior to establishing specific standards, and may be added to the California Register when criteria for evaluating the properties are adopted.
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Operating from April 1860 to October 1861, the Pony Express was a mail delivery service whose mailmen carried messages via horseback across the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. A mail pouch called a Mochila was passed from rider to rider in a relay crossing eight states in about ten days. It became the west's most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph and was vital for tying California closely with the Union just before the American Civil War.
The city of Woodfords, near Markleeville in Alpine County, became a remount station of the Pony Express on April 4, 1860, when Warren Upson scaled the mountains in a blinding snowstorm and made his way down the eastern slope of the Sierra on his way to Carson City. Five weeks later the pony express was rerouted by way of Echo Summit and Luther Pass. Woodfords holds title as the oldest non-native settlement in the entire region.
To commemorate the Pony Express Ride, every summer a group of volunteer equestrians re-enact the historic route, passing through Woodfords during the National Pony Express Re-Ride.
The marker is located at the intersection of highways 88 and 89, on the side street which runs adjacent to Highway 88.
High in the Sierra Nevada along the eastern edge of California, Alpine County is sparsely populated. In 1844, John C. Fremont’s expedition, accompanied by Kit Carson, passed through the area and over today’s Carson Pass on Highway 88. The Overland Emigrant Trail passed through this county, and is marked today by yellow painted iron markers and plaques
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