Coach and Coins: Travel Back in Time at the Wells Fargo Museum

The Wells Fargo Museum, located at 123 South Broad Street in Philadelphia, transports visitors back in time by offering them a unique look at Wells Fargo’s role in the growth of Philadelphia and America as a whole. In addition to highlighting many original banking documents, the museum features a stagecoach exhibit where visitors are given the opportunity to explore what it was like to travel in the Concord-style stagecoaches depicted in the Wells Fargo logo. Photographs help visitors imagine how businesses worked many years ago. The letters and exhibits work hand-in-hand to tell the history of the bank and its founders.

Wells Fargo was founded by Henry Wells (1805-1878) and William G. Fargo (1818-1881), who both grew up in upstate New York. Wells worked in the express business and formed American Express Company in 1850 with the help of a few partners, including Fargo. However, Wells and Fargo couldn’t resist the express and banking business opportunities dominating the Pacific Coast. Packing up and leaving behind their east coast roots, they embarked on the journey west and founded Wells Fargo & Company in 1852.

The first Wells Fargo office in Philadelphia opened on Chestnut Street in the mid-1850s with the goal of connecting customers on the east coast with the business opportunities of the California Gold Rush. However, the office had to close after serving Philadelphians for almost a decade. Today, Wells Fargo has 39 offices throughout Philadelphia, as well as many ATMs scattered throughout the region.

Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Museum is one of 12 that the company has created throughout the country, with locations in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Oregon. All of the museums are free to the public and act as a supplement to state primary and secondary education. Interested teachers can learn more about touring the museum here. The museum also caters to senior citizens, college students, and business professionals. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to travel back in time through the Wells Fargo History Museum!


Article written by Valeria Bossio Chavez on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association