B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too

Cold Springs/East Gate Station, Nevada - Pony Express

Cold Springs/East Gate Station (N39 24 56.1 W117 50 32.2)

Located on US 50 65 miles west of Austin. An interpretive center near the highway explains the history of the site and marks the beginning of a 1-1/2-mile trail to the station. In March of 1860, the station was built by Superintendent Bolivar Roberts, J.G. Kelly and others. It was put to use by the Pony Express in early April. Jim McNaughton was the station keeper at Cold Springs until he became a rider. J. G. Kelly was assistant station keeper at Cold Springs for a while.

The 1860 structure was built of large native rocks and mud. It was a large station, measuring 116′ x 51′. The walls were 4-6′ high and up to 3′thick. There were 4 distinct rooms — storage area, barn, corral, and living quarters.

The horse corral was located next to the living quarters primarily as a safety measure to guard the valuable animals. This location also took full advantage of the animals’ body heat during cold Nevada winters. The only other source of heat was from one small fireplace.

Station keepers and riders were continually changing. Another rider that stayed at Cold Springs was William James. He rode in 1861 between Simpson Park and Cold Springs. Today at Cold Springs a substantial fortress still stands out on the trail. Living quarters and corral are easily recognized as well as windows, gun holes, and a fireplace. The “rivulet of good water from the neighboring hills, that Burton found so refreshing is still running by the old ruins.


Sources generally agree on the identity of Cold Springs as a station, [27] and Raymond and Mary Settle give Cold Springs the status of a home station. [28]

Bolivar Roberts, J. G. Kelly, and their crew erected Cold Springs Station in March 1860 for the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co. as they prepared for the beginning of the Pony Express the next month. Several men managed station operations at Cold Springs, including Jim McNaughton, John Williams, and J. G. Kelly. In May 1860, Indians attacked the station, killed the stationkeeper, and took the horses. They raided the station again a few weeks later. When Richard Burton reached Cold Springs on October 15, 1860, he found a roofless, partially built station house. [29] Townley notes that the Overland Mail Company line dropped Cold Springs from its route about July 1861 in favor of a site west of present U. S. 50. [30]

Much of the station's stone ruins still exist today. Thick walls, complete with windows, gunholes, and a fireplace, identify the station, and the remains of a corral stand nearby. As in Burton's visit in 1860, the structure has no roof. [31] The station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been structurally stabilized for preservation and safety reasons. [32]

The ruins described sound like the features seen just west of the Rock Creek Station, just to the south of the Cold Springs Station, as seen from the Google Earth tour.

39.415000915527, -117.845001220700