Cover image for Wagons for the Santa Fe trade : wheeled vehicles and their makers, 1822-1880
Wagons for the Santa Fe trade : wheeled vehicles and their makers, 1822-1880
Gardner, Mark Lee, 1960-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xx, 204 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TS2010 .G37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This profusely illustrated history explores Santa Fe Trade freight wagons and wagon makers. For a half-century until the railroad reached New Mexico in 1880, hundreds of eight wagons yearly hauled commercial goods over the Santa Fe Trail, the major traffic artery between Missouri and New Mexico. The author identifies wagon types and examines wagon makers and their factories, power sources, woodworking machinery, and construction processes. Individual chapters examine Pennsylvania and Missouri wagons, characteristics of freight wagons, the transition from shop to factory, and Dearborns, personal vehicles, and provision wagons. The author also devotes a chapter to the legendary wind wagon. Appendices offer first-person descriptions of merchant trains, rolling stock, and wagon factories.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Between 1820 and 1880, thousands of freight wagons plied the overland trail that began near Kansas City, Missouri, and terminated in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Of these thousands, not one remains. Making extensive use of trade catalogs, contemporary travel accounts and illustrations, government documents, census returns, and city directories, Gardner attempted to piece together everything that is known of the freight wagons that traveled along the Santa Fe Trail. He examines wagon design and construction, comparing Santa Fe wagons to earlier freight wagons (the Conestogas). He also devotes several chapters to identifying the manufacturers of these wagons and reviews the shift from artisan-operated small shops to large wagon factories employing steam engines and division of labor. Although the focus of the study is civilian freight wagons, he devotes a chapter to other vehicles using the Santa Fe Trail (excluding army wagons and stagecoaches). The concluding chapter is a definitive account of the legendary prairie windwagon, included because it was intended for and tested on the Santa Fe Trail. Well illustrated and thoroughly researched, but no map of the Santa Fe Trail. Upper-division undergraduates and up. T. S. Reynolds; Michigan Technological University