Conestoga Wagon

Contributed by Ulster American Folk Park

Conestoga wagon from the eastern North America circa 1800.

The Conestoga wagon drawn by 6 horses was the main land transport vechicle of the day carrying goods and people.Conestoga wagons originated in and around Pennsylvania from 1750. The first wagons were built by German immigrants. Rather than being a simple box, the wagon was a very flexible basket and was able to take the strains imposed on it by rough roads. Its curves may have been exaggerated to reflect the perception of beauty at the time. Similarly, much of the ironwork found on the wagons was decorated with various motifs. Pennsylvanian Dutch tulip, heart and birds-head designs were frequently used. The design was taken on by all ethnic groups but lost some of the artistry of the early German designers. The wagons would have taken early Irish immigrants out to the frontier face to face with native Americans as they cut farms out of the forests. The wagons would have transported their produce back to the cities of the eastern coast. Transport opened up the interior of the USA eventually attracting millions of Europeans to the New World.

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This wagon worked around 1820.


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