Effect of Way Stations on Overland Travel

“The most striking new developments [in overland travel] were prompted by the way station requirements of overland stagecoaching (to Denver and the Pike’s Peak country as well as to Salt Lake City and California) and the Pony Express. When coupled with the rapidity of rural and urban settlement west of the Missouri River, east of the traditional California and Oregon destination points, and on all sides of Salt Lake City, the net result was an overland trip which resembled the pioneering ventures of the early 1840s in name only. For in 1859 and 1860 there were, literally, hundreds of supportive facilities en route. Rarely did the emigrant travel more than twenty-five or thirty miles without encountering at least one habitation. Usually there were more. It made no difference whether the overlander began from St. Joseph and traveled via the overland trail on the south side of the Platte River or whether he launched out from Council Bluffs–Omaha on the north side of the Platte—supportive facilities were everywhere.”