With tens of thousands of early vehicle buildersdocumented in our Wheels That Won The West® Archives, America’s earlytransportation industry was anything but small. Even so, finding specific examples within the millions of vehicles theycollectively created can sometimes be a challenge. It’s a problem further complicated with questions like… Where isinformation on individual makers located, how did a particular manufacturerdesign certain features, when was a given technology first used, what are thebest books to read and many more similar queries.
Located throughout the U.S., much of the survivinginformation is so scattered it requires the stealth of a detective tofind it. In hopes of lessening theconundrum of locating some of the vehicles, several years ago we added the“Destinations” section to our website. It’s far from complete but does offer a few insights into areas withinteresting sets of wheels.
On our recent trip to southern California, we sawmore than a hundred vehicles ranging from Big Wheels (giant logging carts), mudwagons and touring coaches to rack bed wagons, mountain wagons, Concordcoaches, buckboards, and tall-sided freighters. Makers of these early wheels ranged from Studebaker, Schuttler, andWeber to Winona, Bain, Abbot-Downing, M.P. Henderson, Gestring and others. It was a lot to take in and we took awaynearly 2,000 photos of original western wagons and coaches for our archives.
One of the first places we visited was in the heartof Los Angeles. Centered in thefinancial district, the Wells Fargo History Museum is home to a very specialvehicle. Coach #599 is a 9 passengerConcord Coach built by the Abbot-Downing Company in 1895. It was originally used on J.B. Barbee’s stageline from Columbia to Campbellsville, Kentucky. According to the book, “Time Well Kept,”released by Wells Fargo Historical Services, this coach was later acquired byC.H. Burton for his Monticello to Burnside route – believed to be the laststagecoach line in operation in Kentucky. As shown in the photos below, the coach – inpredominantly original and exceptional condition – is on display atthe Wells Fargo History Museum in Los Angeles, CA.
We’d like to extend a special thank you to the greatfolks at the Wells Fargo Museum for such great hospitality during ourvisit. In the coming weeks, we’ll share additionalimages and information on even more of the vehicles we had the privilege ofdocumenting. In the meantime, if youhaven’t signed up to receive notices every time we update this blog, click onthe link in the right hand border and don’t forget to confirm your info. That validates your sign-up and helps makesure you don’t miss a single posting. Wishing you the best!