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Massasoit House -- Atchison KS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 39° 33.652 W 095° 06.973
15S E 318200 N 4381158
Quick Description: The Pony Express marker at the former site of the Massasoit House, once a Pony Expres station and division HQ, now a parking lot in downtown Atchison KS.
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 4/4/2013 3:14:59 PM
Waymark Code: WMGRDE
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Uncle Alaska
Views: 9

Long Description:
The Massasoit House, a very nice hotel in downtown Atchison in the 1850s-1870s was not just a stop and HQ for the famous Pony Express. Horace Greeley wrote his famous essay exhorting a generation to "Go West, young man!" there, and Abraham Lincoln spent the night here.

But first: the Pony Express historic marker text about the Massasoit House:


{In search of the Pony Express graphic}

Dedicated Apr 10, 1994
Company and Division Headquarters
Added Station
Sep. 14, 1861 - Nov. 20, 1861

by James Stretesky
John A. & Grace S. Adair,
Exchange Bank Foundation
Evah Cray Charitable Trust
Pony Express Trail Association

David Hundley Family John Augustine Adari
Tom & Deborah Cooney Rick & Mary Thurber
Mr. & Mrs. Paul H. Adair Berger Company
Atchison Leather Products KARE Radio Inc.
Paolocci Restaurant & Deli Cloud I. Grey
Mr. & Mrs. Cloud I Grey Jr. Hugh Ivin


"On September 14, 1861 the "Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Co." who were the original owners and operators of the Pony Express moved their offices from the Patee House in St. Joseph, Missouri to here at the "Massasoit House." It was located 164 feet east at the NW corner of Second and Main.

The actual "horse" Pony Express was now operating to California from Ft. Kearny, Nebraska twice a week. The Pony Express mail between here and Ft. Kearny was carried by stagecoach.

All Pony Express envelopes coming from California were hand cancelled with Atchison as the postmark and carried the famous Wells Fargo Pony Express stamp. The average Pony Express letter now cost $1.00 per 1/2 ounce where the original cost was $5.00." [end]

More about the Massasoit House from the Atchison Co. KS Historical Society website list of the Wonders of Atchison County: (visit link)

"Horace Greeley's finding of the West in Atchison:

(1859) The man who made the phrase, “Go West young man!” famous, himself first found the West on the streets of Atchison and the rolling prairie of Atchison County. Greeley the editor of the New York Tribune arrived on the steamboat Platte Valley Sunday morning May 15, 1859. Greeley and the Tribune were well known in Atchison, Greeley’s reporters had been stationed in the city covering the events of “Bleeding Kansas” since the early days of the territory. Greeley was given the treatment for only the most honored guests – touring the city with Mayor Samuel Pomeroy and others. That night in the city’s finest accommodations at the Massasoit House Greeley began writing his book, “An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Sumner of 1859,” with a vivid description of the fledgling Western town.
“I went out three or four miles on the high prairie this afternoon, and the furthest thing I could see was the white canvas of a moving train. I have long been looking for the West, and here it is at last.”

Horace Greeley’s full description of Atchison, KT – written at the Massasoit House in 1859:

Atchison gives me my first foothold on Kansas. It was long a Border-Ruffian nest, but has shared the fortunes of many such in being mainly bought out by Free-State men, who now rule, and for the most part own it. For the last year, its growth has been quite rapid; of its four or five hundred dwellings, I think, two-thirds have been built within that period. The Missouri at this point runs further to the west than elsewhere in Kansas; its citizens tell me that the great roads westward to Utah, &c., from St. Joseph on the north and from Leavenworth on the south, pass within a few miles of Atchison when thrice as far from their respective starting-points. Hence the Salt Lake mail, though made up at St. Joseph, is brought hither by steamboat and starts overland from this place; hence many trains are made up here for Laramie, Green River, Fort Hall, Utah, and I hear even for Santa Fe. I have seen several twelve-ox teams, drawing heavily-loaded Wagons, start for Salt Lake, etc., to-day; there are others camped just outside the corporate limits, which have just come in; while a large number of Wagons form a corral (yard, enclosure or encampment) some two miles westward. A little further away, the tents and wagons of parties of gold-seekers, with faces set for Pike's Peak, dot the prairie; one of them in charge of a grey-head who is surely old enough to know better. Teamsters from Salt Lake and teamsters about to start, lounge on every corner; I went out three or four miles on the high prairie this afternoon, and the furthest thing I Could see was the white canvas of a moving train. I have long been looking for the West, and here it is at last.-But I must break off somewhere to prepare for an early start for Leavenworth and Lawrence to-morrow, in order to reach Osawatomie next day in season to attend the Republican Convention which is to assemble at that place on Wednesday, the eighteenth." [end]

In December 1859, a tall lanky candidate for President came to Atchison to campaign. He stayed at the Massasoit house, then a fine hotel barely three years old.

From the Kansas Memory website (who are due a photo credit for the 1860s-vintage drawing of the Massasoit house I used in this WM: (visit link)

"The four-story structure was completed in September of 1856 at the northwest corner of 2nd and Main Street in Atchison, Kansas. The hotel became an Atchison landmark when Abraham Lincoln checked in on December 2, 1859, as he traveled throughout northeast Kansas discussing the issues and concerns of slavery in the territory. The hotel was later destroyed by fire on September 1, 1873."
Visit Instructions:
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Benchmark Blasterz visited Massasoit House -- Atchison KS 3/13/2013 Benchmark Blasterz visited it