Many of the modern paved roads in the west follow the old original pioneer wagon trails and Pony Express routes. Taking a scenic drive along an old western pathway will present opportunities to see relics of the past and to learn a little something about the history of the region. The Hashknife Pony Express Trail to Snowflake is one such scenic drive!
The Hashknife Pony Express Trail runs from Holbrook, Arizona to the city of Scottsdale and the 200 mile trek by horseback actually is still run by Pony Express riders in modern times. Every winter the mail is delivered from Winslow and Holbrook to Scottsdale the old fashioned way across the old overland trail route, while the weather is cool. People can get their mail stamped with an official Pony Express watermark in Holbrook during the event and the letters instantly attain collectable value.
The annual Hashknife Pony Express mail delivery event is quite a celebration and this all takes place during the month of January or early February. There are many historic Pony Express stops and local events along the way where visitors can relive the past while viewing the horseback riders. Needless to say, the annual Hashknife Pony Express celebration is well worth checking out when visiting Arizona this time of year!
Snowflake, Arizona is located about 25 miles south of Holbrook and this town is one of the first stops along the Hashknife Pony Express Trail. The Pony Express riders pick up bags of mail in Snowflake, before heading southwest into the mountains toward Payson. Letters sent from Snowflake during the event also get the official Pony Express stamp, so this historic town is a great place for visitors to spend the day reliving the age of the classic western style horseback mail delivery system.
Snowflake was founded by Mormon pioneers way back in 1878, so as can be imagined, the Hashknife Pony Express played an integral part in the development of this community. The name Snowflake is kind of odd sounding, especially since this town is located in a vast desert expanse where the snowfall rarely sticks to the ground. As it turns out, the local weather really has nothing to do with the name of this town. The town was actually named after the two Mormon pioneers that played a chief part in establishing this community back in the day. The last names of Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake were combined to create the Snowflake town name.
It took plenty of sweat and toil to establish a community in this unforgiving desert region, yet the Mormon pioneers were able to pull this feat off. There was no local gold rush or any easy way to get rich quick in this region, so this community depended upon establishing basic foundations to achieve sustainability, by means of hard work. The Mormon pioneers literally built the infrastructure of this community from the ground up, by constructing irrigation systems and sweetening the sun parched land so it could be farmed.
When traveling south on Arizona State Road 77 along the old Hashknife Pony Express Route from Holbrook to Snowflake, it becomes easy to see just how difficult that it must have been to put a lush green spot on the map in this desolate region back in the late 1870s. This tough achievement was indeed accomplished by the Mormon pioneers and part of the underlying theme of Snowflake was to reward the community for its hard earned effort by constructing landmark brick and mortar buildings that would withstand the test of time. The old historic brick buildings in Snowflake sure are a sight to see, especially since most of the rest of Arizona still relied on timber for civil construction projects till well into the early 1900s.
Snowflake is a prime example of Mormon pioneer history and there is plenty for visitors to experience. One can spend the day touring over 100 pioneer homes from the days of the old west. Native Americans are an integral part of the Snowflake community, which has always been a hub for commerce in this region, so there are plenty of old fashioned trading posts where visitors can shop for tribal arts and crafts. The native influence can also be experienced at the historic Snowflake Church Of Latter Day Saints Temple, where native spiritual art and a stained glass Jesus depictions exist in the same place.
Snowflake offers modern amenities that include art galleries, good local restaurants, camping and lodging. There are farmers markets and antique shops too. There is even a modern car wash, which is a real find in this region where water can be scarce. The Pioneer Museum in Snowflake is a prime tourist attraction where visitors can learn a little something about the past and this is a good place to find more information about sites to see in the area.
As can be seen, Snowflake is much more than a small speck on a map that has an odd name! Snowflake is a great place to experience Mormon pioneer history in modern times. Following the Hashknife Pony Express Trail on SR 77 from Holbrook to Snowflake is a nice choice for a weekend getaway or a scenic drive to Phoenix from Interstate 40. The annual Hashknife Pony Express run takes the spotlight during the winter season and more information about where to send letters to be ink marked for Pony Express delivery is easy to find at the Hashknife Pony Express website. A Snowflake Pony Express delivery stamp on a personal letter is a great memento that will inspire conversation for many generations!
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