Simpson Springs Pony Express Station

Simpson Springs provided the only freshwater to a barren part of the Pony Express. Riders and horses quenched their thirst there before continuing their long journey.

In 1851, George Chorpenning and Absolom Woodward were awarded the first overland mail contract between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. Absolom was killed by Indians later that year, and George began running the mail by himself. Simpson Springs was a promising site along the route because it was the only good source of water for miles in the barren desert. In 1859, George set up a ring of stones as a foundation for his Sibley tent.

By 1860, a stone house was built, and the firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell bought the site for the Pony Express. They eventually bought the entire Chorpenning mail and stage line. George Dewees managed the Simpson Springs Station, which was located between Government Creek Station to the northeast and River Bed Station to the southwest. Simpson Springs Station, like many of the stations along the Pony Express, went by many names. Richard F. Burton wrote that Simpson Springs was, “the station which Mormons call Egan’s Springs, anti-Mormons Simpson Springs, and Gentiles Lost Springs.”

The name Simpson Springs came from the Camp Floyd topographical engineer J. H. Simpson. In 1859, Simpson was commissioned to lay out an acceptable route from Salt Lake City to Carson Valley. On that expedition, he passed through what would be named Simpson Springs. After the Pony Express ended, the station was decreasingly used by mail and shipping companies until it was abandoned in 1869.

Richard Burton passed through the area in 1860 and described the landscape in this way. “All was desert: the bottom could no longer be called basin or valley: it was a thin fine silt, thirsty dust in the dry season, and putty-like mud in the springs and autumnal rains.” In 1965, a monument was placed to mark the station site, and, in 1975, the Bureau of Land Management and Future Farmers of America finished reconstructing the station.

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