On March 18, 1852, Henry Wells and William G. Fargo created Wells, Fargo & Company. The new company offered banking and express services to Gold Rush pioneers. Wells and Fargo saw opportunity, followed their dream, and left a strong heritage.
Since 1852 tells the story of Wells Fargo and its rich heritage. It showcases the people, communities and legacies that now are part of Wells Fargo's story. The business they founded nearly 160 years ago has grown into one of america's most respected and honored ocmpanies.
Enjoy the ride as you travel through the events and meet the people that contributed to our company's history, since 1852.
When Henry Wells and William G. Fargo founded Wells Fargo & Company in New York in March of 1852, they couldn’t have imagined they were creating a business enterprise that would become an American legend and one of America’s—and the world’s—best known brands. Wells Fargo is one of a few American companies doing business for over 150 years under its founding name and in its original line of business, banking.
Part of what distinguishes Wells Fargo as a modern financial services company is our history of satisfying all of our customers’ financial needs and helping them succeed financially.
As our corporate signature and beloved stagecoach symbolize,
“Together we’ll go far.”
John G. Stumpf
Chairman, President, and CEO
“Wells Fargo is now ready to undertake a general express forward agency and commission business… between the city of New York and the city of San Francisco and the principal cities and towns in California.”
In the early years, Wells Fargo was considered more reliable than the U.S. Postal Service for transcontinental mail and important business correspondence.
Banking was always an important aspect of Wells Fargo’s business, even in 1866, as this check written in New York shows. The Internal Revenue stamp, upper left, was required by the government to help pay for war debt.
A banjo clock by Howard & David was a fixture in many Wells Fargo offices. In rugged mining camps, Wells Fargo offices came to symbolize the kind of modern services that miners knew back home in “the States”.
In the mid-1890s, Wells Fargo shared its express office on Madison Square with the Erie Railroad ticket office. This office was one of ten Wells Fargo locations in New York. On the East Coast, rail transportation was the primary mode of transportation for the company’s express business.
“There was one very powerful business rule. It was concentrated in the word: courtesy”
Gold nuggets and dust panned by California miners were neither money nor legal tender, until they had been assayed and weighed. To do that, miners flocked to Wells Fargo, which was renowned for fairness and honesty.
Wells Fargo’s first banking and express office in the West was located on Montgomery Street in San Francisco. Today the company’s headquarters are only a few steps from this original site.