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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Winter Crops from Sunny Texas

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Unknown, WINTER CROPS FROM SUNNY TEXAS (1915). Photo used with permission from Wells Fargo, N. A.

Creator Unknown
Context With westward expansion, a demand arose for the national distribution of goods.
Audience Advertisement targeting potential customers
Purpose To show how express companies used the invention of refrigeration and the development of the railroad to distribute produce coast to coast.

Historical Significance

Express companies provided the service of receiving and delivering letters, parcels, produce, and "anything and everything" throughout the nation. As railroad routes linked the United States, Wells Fargo increasingly rode the rails, and became the first nationwide express company in 1888. Wells Fargo was among the first express companies to ship fresh fruits and vegetables in refrigerated cars. The idea was so successful that, by 1918, Wells Fargo owned 175 refrigerated boxcars. Its "Ocean-to-Ocean" service connected more than 2,500 communities in 25 states. Wells Fargo rushed customers' business from the urban centers of New York and New Jersey, through the rail hub of Chicago and farming regions of the Midwest, to ranching and mining centers in Texas and Arizona, and to lumber mill towns in the Pacific Northwest.

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