B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too


The identity and location of Machette's Station remains controversial. Local tradition places the site on the Williams' Upper 96 Ranch, four miles east of Fort McPherson in Lincoln County, Nebraska. Up until 1931, there was a two-story log cabin and a blacksmith shop linked to this site. However, in 1931 the American Legion Post No. 64 dismantled the main two-story log structure from the original site and moved the log building to Gothenburg City Park, where it was reassembled into a one-story building. Tourism signs along the highway advertise the building as an original Pony Express station. A marker attached to the building tells visitors that "Machette" built the cabin in 1854 as a trading post and ranch house, that the Pony Express used it from 1860-1861, and that it served as an overland station, dwelling, bunk house and storage house on Upper 96 Ranch" afterwards. [35]

Apparently at the same time they removed the log structure, a monument was placed commemorating this site. At that time, the blacksmith shop for the station remained at its original site. It read, "Erected by the people of Lincoln County, 1931, to commemorate the Pony Express riders. This is one of the regular stations of the Pony Express. The log blacksmith shop nearby is the original building used for shoeing horses." [36]

Nevertheless, some historians question the very existence of the Machette site as part of the original Pony Express route. Mattes and Henderson suggest two possibilities regarding the "Machette" building. First, Machette's existed as a ranch in the early 1860s but did not serve as a relay station. Second, "Machette" was a corruption of "McDonald," another name for the Cottonwood Springs Station, which will be discussed next. The building housed station activities at McDonald's and was later moved to the Upper 96 site. [37] Mattes notes later that some type of station existed in the area, variously known as Dan Trout's Station, Joe Bower's Ranche, and Broken Ranch. He concludes that the log structures from the Upper 96 Ranch probably belonged to one of the above road ranches. [38]

Point plotted was obtained from a Google Map search of Pony Express Gothenburg.

40.933101654053, -100.158996582030