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Journey to Rockwell's Station Historical Monument on the Pony Express Road By Elizabeth Miklavcic

by Elizabeth & Jimmy Miklavcic
On November 15, 2014, during an 18-degree morning, Jimmy Miklavcic and I ventured to the south end of the Salt Lake Valley to try to find the Rockwell’s Station Historical Marker. This marker, constructed in 1934, of stone from the original saloon structure, is all that is left of the hub that was at the south end of the valley, close to the Point-of-the-Mountain.

The Pony Express and Overland Mail Service operated for 18 months, from April 3, 1860 to October 1861 before the Telegraph was established. The westbound pony rider proceeded south along today’s State Street to this station, which was located just south of the Utah State Prison. The stop was [Orrin] Porter Rockwell’s Hot Springs Brewery Hotel. The hotel and brewery made this a popular staying over point for Pony Express riders and for people traveling on the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company stagecoach prominent from 1858-1868.

As Jimmy and I comfortably drive to the site, I can’t help but think how strange and surreal it would seem to someone who lived during that time and worked for the Pony Express to be suddenly dropped into this present environment.

Since the building of IKEA, the urban sprawl has increased dramatically. What used to be ranchland, farmland and open space is now filled with shops, offices and houses.

Of course the prison is still there, much larger and changed from the 1800’s.

The frontage road next to the freeway is known as the Pony Express Road. How many years have I lived in Utah and never knew that every time we traveled south we were crossing paths with this type of history?

I am awed by the bravery, stamina, and adventurous spirit of the people who rode for the Pony Express. I feel that the loss of the original structures is a missed opportunity for tourism. The Porter Rockwell’s Hot Springs Brewery Hotel could have provided a physical place to learn more about an important piece of American history.
By Elizabeth Miklavcic