The Conestoga wagon originated in the Conestoga Valley near Lancaster, PA around 1750. It was shaped like a boat with both ends curved upward to keep its load from shifting while climbing the steep Appalachian roads. Large wheels kept the cargo dry when crossing rivers, and a water-proof canvas cover protected passengers from heat, rain and snow. Barrels on the sides of the wagon stored water and toolboxes held tools needed for repairs. A grease bucket tied to the back made sure that axles and wheels were properly greased.
The Conestoga wagon was a large, lumbering vehicle that could carry up to 8 tons of cargo. It traveled about 15 miles a day. Because of its tremendous size and weight, the Conestoga wagon required between four and twelve horses to pull it.
This page was last updated Jan 1st 2016.