Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Story behind the Stagecoach
Who hasn't heard of the Wells Fargo wagon? The very name conjures up images of six-horse stagecoaches thundering across the American West, laden with gold, mail and merchandise. This indelible image is one piece of the Coach's rich history, which, spanning 150 years, tells the story of America's march to the Pacific coast.
Built high and wide with a curved frame that gave it strength, the Wells Fargo Coach sported perfectly formed, fitted and balanced wheels, just right for standing up to drenching mountain storms and parching desert heat. But what made the Wells Fargo
Coach a classic was the leather suspension that cushioned the horses as well as the passengers, imparting a gentle rocking motion, leading Mark Twain to call it, "An imposing cradle on wheels."
In the 1850s, Wells Fargo coaches delivered mail twice weekly between St. Louis and San Francisco, a 25-day journey across vast treeless plains, jagged mountain passes, scorching deserts and raging rivers cursed with quicksand. The coach stopped only to change horses or let passengers slug down a cup of coffee with their beef jerky and biscuits.
The Civil War forced a route change across the Great Plains through the Rocky Mountains and over the Sierra mountains, from California to Virginia City, Nevada, and from Virginia City to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Where the railroads ended
In 1869 at Promontory, Utah, dignitaries hammered in a Golden Spike, which joined the rails of the Transcontinental Railroad - and ended Wells Fargo's overland stageline.
However, stagecoaches continued rolling wherever the railroads did not. Wells Fargo contracted with independent stageline operators to carry treasure boxes and express, even into the early 20th century. Whether in Sierra mountain towns, northern Minnesota villages, Pacific Northwest coastal farms, or west Texas ranches, stagecoaches carried Wells Fargo customers' business wherever they lived and worked.
Wells Fargo Stagecoach on parade
As symbol of our image, heritage and values, the legendary stagecoach is priceless, and Wells Fargo strives to present it to our communities. Every year, people across the nation see the horse-drawn stagecoach of the Old West in their streets. You can experience the sight and sound of the Wells Fargo stagecoach rolling at parades and events. On special occasions, you may even take a ride in this amazing piece of American history!
Every stagecoach appearance speaks deeply to Wells Fargo's history, brand, vision, values and commitment to the communities we serve. It also tells our customers that we're here for them now and over time. As our former chairman Dick Kovacevich once said, "The stagecoach is the visual representation of our values and of coming through for our customers wherever they live and wherever they want to go."
Posted by Tom Stanford