Tag Archives: Butterfield Overland Mail Route

April 2018 – Alexander Majors & More

The Alexander Majors House on the southside of Kansas City highlight’s this month’s cancellations. Photo Credit: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Statue of Liberty National Monument | Ellis Island Immigration Station

California National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO

Oregon National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO

Pony Express National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO

Old Spanish National Historic Trail |

  • Moab Field Office, UT
  • Fish Lake Lodge, UT
Portrait of Alexander Majors and the Alexander Majors House. Photo from 2016.

The highlight of this month’s listings are three new stamps for the Alexander Majors House, just south of Kansas City.  This site previously had a stamp for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and now adds stamps for three others.  The Oregon and  California National Historic Trails all follow the same route as the Santa Fe Trail from the city of Independence just east of Kansas City, around the southern end of the city, and into the Great Plains. The city of Independence owes its origins to being the westernmost point on the Missouri River accessible by steamships. The nearby city of Kansas City would later overtake it, first due to its position at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and later due to the locating of a major railroad bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas City.  The stories of Independence and Kansas City remind a bit of the stories of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota.  St. Paul is the northernmost navigable point on the Mississippi River, and so was a major shipping center.  Minneapolis, however, is located on St. Anthony Falls, which powered the milling industry.

The addition of the Pony Express National Historic Trail cancellation is a bit more interesting than the first two trails, as the Pony Express trail begins more than 60 miles to the north in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri. The explanation for this stamp being located an hour’s drive away from the trail that it commemorates is explained by Alexander Majors himself – as he was one of three Kansas City businessmen who founded the Pony Express.  Majors made his initial fortune hauling freight on the Santa Fe Trail and proposed the Pony Express to more than halve the then-25 day time for mail deliveries to California by conestoga wagon along the southerly Butterfield Overland Mail Route.  The Pony Express would follow a new northerly route through Salt Lake City to Sacramento and San Francisco, and of course, make innovative use of relay teams of ponies.  Unfortunately for Majors, within just a couple years, the development telegraph and the railroad spelled the doom not only of the Pony Express, but of Majors’ Santa Fe Trail operations as well.  Majors ultimately died penniless – but not before helping launch the career of Buffalo Bill Cody, an assistant on his Santa Fe Trail operations who went on to become one of his most famous Pony Express riders

Alexander Majors’ House is now preserved as a historic site on the southern side of Kansas City and is run by a non-profit foundation that also operates the John Wornall House from the same era.

An outdoor sculpture of the Santa Fe Trail, located very near the Alexander Majors House in Kansas City. Photo from 2016.

The first of the two new stamps for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail is for the Bureau of Land Management Field Office in the town of Moab, Utah, which is the gateway to both Arches and Canyonlands National Park.  The other is for the Fish Lake Resorts located in the namesake National Forest near the town of Richfield in central Utah.

Finally, the Statue of Liberty National Monument has updated its cancellation for the historic Ellis Island Immigration Station.  The majestic statue itself is, of course, the symbol of America’s welcome to overseas immigrants.  The old Ellis Island Immigration Station is also part of this national park, and now hosts the fantastic Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which tells the story of all US immigrant people, but primarily those who arrived through the Ellis Island Immigration Station in the early 20th Century.

Final Shot: The Statue of Liberty, namesake of Statue of LIberty National Monument, which includes Ellis Island.

 

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