Bringing the mail
On Wednesday, Nevada’s oldest town illustrated the confluence of past and present transportation and communications.
Not far from the statue of Snowshoe Thompson, re-riders of the Pony Express transferred the mochila containing hundreds of souvenir letters while onlookers used their cell phones to record the moment.
The town of Genoa only popped into existence a decade before the Pony Express’ brief ride through history.
Prior to the Express, Genoans relied on Snowshoe Thompson to get their mail in the winter and the stagecoach when the passes were open. That mail came by way of ship, taking weeks to arrive.
It would only be a short time after the Pony Express was begun that telegraph wires started to snake their way over the Sierra and across the nation.
The relative instantaneous communication offered by the telegraph and the Civil War spelled the end of the Pony Express.
Snowshoe Thompson would continue to carry the mail through the winter until his death in 1875. He never did get paid for his exertions.
Today, the U.S. Postal Service continues to deliver letters written by one person to another, and it continues to lose money doing it.
But there’s still something special about receiving a letter that has yet to be matched digitally.
We wonder how long it will be before we see re-enactments of mail carriers delivering letters to people’s homes.