The Buckland’s Station State Historic Park is located on Highway 95A in a lush green setting next to the Carson River in west central Nevada. The large two story old west ranch house style building sits next to the road and there is a good reason why. Buckland’s Station was once an important Pony Express stop and most of the modern roads in this region follow the old Pony Express trails.
The history of Buckland’s Station was borne out of both necessity and failure. Just a few miles further on down the road is where the old adobe ruins of Fort Churchill still stand. Fort Churchill was an army outpost that was built in the mid 1800s to secure safe passage and trade in this region. Fort Churchill was located in a very remote spot, which just happened to be in the heart of the Paiute territory, so raids on the fort were commonplace. Because of the remote location, supply lines were stretched thin and reinforcements were too far away to help in times of need. Eventually the Paiute Nation wore out the troops stationed at Fort Churchill and this fort was abandoned in 1869. Oddly enough, this fort actually was the very first to be abandoned by the U.S. Army during a conflict, so as can be imagined, the opposition was more than just tough.
After Fort Churchill was evacuated, the entire site was sold to Samuel Buckland for fair value. Samuel Buckland salvaged as much of the construction materials from the old fort as possible and hauled the load down to a site near the Carson River, where plenty of water would be available for his ranch project. Samuel Buckland used the salvaged materials to construct a two story ranch house next to the river and the farm that he established was quite a spread.
Because the ranch house was one of the few vestiges of civilization located along the lines of the newly created Pony Express route, it was a likely choice for a Pony Express stop. Soon Samuel Buckland shifted from ranching to entrepreneurship. Most Pony Express stops served as a cornerstone for local communities back in those days. Any traveler following the Pony Express Trail flocked to the Pony Express Stations, because supplies and blacksmiths could be found. Lodging and a hot bath were part of the charm too. Samuel Buckland marketed his farm fresh produce and supplies to passers by, so Buckland Station soon became a commerce center in this region.
All things must pass and after the Pony Express days came to an end, the age of the automobile came to be. By this time, the old historic Buckland’s Station property had changed hands many times. Finally in 1997 the State Of Nevada purchased the property and by 1999 it was turned into an official State Historic Site. The restoration project was successful and now the old Pony Express station looks as shiny as it did back when it was brand new.
The fee to enter Buckland’s Station State Historic Park only costs a couple of dollars and children are admitted free, so this destination presents a good value. There are plenty of shade trees by the Carson River that are perfect for taking a brief siesta and there are picnic tables in the neighboring Churchill State Park Orchard Day Use Area too. Group tours are an option and this State Park hosts many events throughout the year. There is a lot of Nevada pony express history that can be learned by taking a guided tour at Buckland’s Station, so this makes the visit all the more worthwhile, especially if visiting the nearby ruins of Fort Churchill is part of the travel plan!
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