A Haven along the Trail- Hollenberg Pony Express Station

Set in the rolling grasslands of Northeastern Kansas, The Hollenberg Pony Express Station is a restored waystation from the late 1850s.

Founded by German immigrants Gerat and Sophia Hollenberg, this humble wooden building served as trading post & inn for travellers along the Santa Fe Trail first, then for those following the Pony Express mail route later.

Life on the trails through the Great Plains was difficult during this era. Settlers & Entrepreneurs were forced to give up many daily comforts to head West looking for a better life. They not only had to deal with the threat of attacks by hostile Native Americans, but they also had to endure the climactic conditions, which could sometimes be harsh.

They also had to be mostly self-sufficient, carrying supplies and food they would need with them. Often, during the longer portions of the journey, they would need to resort to catching their own dinner, or face the prospect of a night sleep on an empty stomach. It’s no surprise, then, that places like Hollenberg Station popped up at regular intervals along these well-traveled routes. These trading posts carried the basic essentials; gun powder, textiles, cookware & food. 

It was also a place to catch a decent night’s sleep with an actual roof over their heads. It is hard for people now too look at the above hard floor of the Hollenberg’s attic and understand what a luxury a place on these boards was considered at the time. While not as comfortable as a bed, it was a safe and dry place to rest, something the trail didn’t always afford. 

Stations like Hollenberg were also a place to get a hot meal, find out about trail conditions and also get news from far away. During Hollenberg’s heyday, much of the conversation probably revolved around the division that led to the Civil War. Once it was established as a Pony Express Station, it must have been even busier, since settlers for miles around would have traveled here to send and retrieve their mail.

Now a run by The Kansas Historical Society, Hollenberg Pony Express Station State Historic Site is located a few miles Northeast of Hanover, Kansas. It includes the restored station building, as well as a visitor’s center complete with displays and artifacts from the time period. 

2 Responses to “A Haven along the Trail- Hollenberg Pony Express Station”

  1. eriksmithdotcom says:

    While not the most scenic area in America, there is a sort of mesmerizing beauty about the Great Plains. The sheer size of the land always amazes people!

  2. Abby says:

    This is one part of the country I've never spent any time in!

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