(Cushing Okla.) "O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street, oh please let it be for me!"
This opening line in a song from the classic musical, "The Music Man" reflects the excitement felt when that well-known wagon came rolling by. And although it may not be coming down your street, you can feel the excitement too, as the Wells Fargo Wagon (Stagecoach actually) rolls into the 2012 Cushing Community PRCA Rodeo on Saturday, July 14th. AND if weather permits, folks can take a ride around the arena prior to the start of the rodeo.
Here's a little history about Wells Fargo and its trademark stagecoach:
In 1852 Henry Wells and William Fargo founded Wells, Fargo & Co. to serve the West. The new company offered banking (buying gold, and selling paper bank drafts as good as gold) - and express (rapid delivery of the gold and anything else valuable).
Wells Fargo opened for business in San Francisco, which was a gold rush port back in the mid 1800s. It was during those 'boom and bust' times Wells Fargo earned a reputation of trust by dealing rapidly and responsibly with people's money. In the 1860s, it earned everlasting fame - and its corporate symbol - with the 'grand adventure' of the overland stagecoach line.
Today, as a symbol of the Wells Fargo image, heritage and values, the legendary stagecoach makes appearances at parades and events.
Each coach used is an authentic, Wells Fargo approved reproduction, pulled by a specially trained team of horses and guided by an experienced driver.
The original Wells Fargo stagecoach was built by carriage builder J. Stephens Abbot and master wheelwright Lewis Downing. It was built 'high and wide' to handle the rough, rutted roads of our young country. The curved frame of the body gave it strength. Its perfectly formed, fitted and balanced wheels stood up to drenching mountain storms and parching desert heat. A unique feature of these coaches was its suspension. Instead of steel springs, the coach body rested on leather "thoroughbraces," made of strips of thick bullhide. This special feature spared the horses from jarring and gave the stagecoach a gentle rocking motion. In 'Roughing It', Mark Twain called it "an imposing cradle on wheels."
Concord Coaches weighed about 2,500 pounds and cost $1,100 each, including leather and damask cloth interior.
A total of 13 original Abbot-Downing Concord Coaches are on display in the Wells Fargo history museums and Exhibits across the country. Each coach was given a number by the Abbot-Downing factory and has its own story. A fleet of 17 reproductions can be seen rolling out on any given weekend across the country to appear at events such as the Cushing rodeo.
For more information about Wells Fargo go to www.wellsfargo.com or stop by and visit financial advisor Russell Moyer at the Wells Fargo office located at 2106 E. Main in Cushing.
*Wells Fargo history courtesy of Wells Fargo website.