Operating from April 1860 to October 1861, the Pony Express was a mail delivery service whose mailmen carried messages via horseback across the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. A mail pouch called a Mochila was passed from rider to rider in a relay crossing eight states in about ten days. It became the west's most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph and was vital for tying California closely with the Union just before the American Civil War.
The city of Woodfords, near Markleeville in Alpine County, became a remount station of the Pony Express on April 4, 1860, when Warren Upson scaled the mountains in a blinding snowstorm and made his way down the eastern slope of the Sierra on his way to Carson City. Five weeks later the pony express was rerouted by way of Echo Summit and Luther Pass. Woodfords holds title as the oldest non-native settlement in the entire region.
To commemorate the Pony Express Ride, every summer a group of volunteer equestrians re-enact the historic route, passing through Woodfords during the National Pony Express Re-Ride.
The marker is located at the intersection of highways 88 and 89, on the side street which runs adjacent to Highway 88.
High in the Sierra Nevada along the eastern edge of California, Alpine County is sparsely populated. In 1844, John C. Fremont’s expedition, accompanied by Kit Carson, passed through the area and over today’s Carson Pass on Highway 88. The Overland Emigrant Trail passed through this county, and is marked today by yellow painted iron markers and plaques