Gerat H. Hollenberg had many careers in his time: gold hunter, farmer, real estate agent, Kansas legislator… But his most lasting contribution to the state of Kansas may have been his home.
Hollenberg came to Kansas in 1854 by way of the gold rushes of South America, Australia, and California. He settled near the crossing of the Oregon-California Trail on the Black Vermillion River in Marshall County, Kansas Territory. His log cabin home supplied travelers with goods they’d need on the trail. A few years later, he moved to Washington County where he could also serve the St. Joseph branch of trail users.
He and his wife Sophia started with a one-room log cabin and ended with a long and narrow five-room building where they sold supplies, meals, and provided lodging. He added barns and sheds and when the Pony Express came through in 1860, he was all set to become the largest station on the route.
After the short-lived mail service went under, Hollenberg farmed and ran cattle. From 1874 to 1941, the station was a private home. Then the Kansas Legislature voted to purchase the building along with the surrounding seven acres and it was listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
It’s the last surviving Pony Express station in its original location and is open seasonally as a museum.