The Wells Fargo Wagon (Part 1)

Through December 22, Wells Fargo is running a contest Click here to learn about third-party website links where you can submit your own music video of the song, “The Wells Fargo Wagon” from The Music Man Click here to learn about third-party website links and you can win excellent prizes. In support of this contest — and in support of our Guided By History community — we got Steve Greenwood, curator of the Wells Fargo Museum in Portland, to write the definitive history of the Wells Fargo Wagon. OK, maybe not definitive. But a darn good one, anyway! (CR)


Wells Fargo wagon ad (click for larger image in a new window)100 years ago, Americans depended on horse-drawn vehicles Click here to learn about third-party website links to move a variety of goods around town, including ice Click here to learn about third-party website links and ice cream Click here to learn about third-party website links, beer Click here to learn about third-party website links and of course, Express packages.

With Wells Fargo & Co.’s Express, shipments arrived in communities by stagecoach, steamship, or railroad. Express messengers delivered items to their final destination aboard wagons pulled by one or two horses. The famed Wells Fargo Wagon delivered goods of all sorts, from a grey mackinaw to some grapefruit from Tampa, as the song goes Click here to learn about third-party website links. The Wells Fargo wagon even delivered when a snow storm blanketed Salem, Oregon — the crew simply replaced the wagon wheels with sled runners.

Drivers were also alert for outgoing express. Instructions to drivers stated, “Wagonmen should never drive by call cards, but should stop and secure the shipment.” The red and blue diamond-shaped signs were familiar across the U.S. and became a Wells Fargo logo.

Wells Fargo has been a financial services company from the very beginning. But the lore of the Company and its central role in the growth of the nation is tied to transportation—stagecoach, railroad, Pony Express. The Wells Fargo wagon was a common sight on American streets as communities grew. It meant excitement, as the song demonstrates, because it brought goods from faraway places, helped businesses get the tools and money they needed, and tied local neighborhoods to world markets.

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2 Responses to The Wells Fargo Wagon (Part 1)

  1. tj says:

    This was very helpful!!!!

  2. bobby says:

    what does wells fargo wagon mean

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