Taking to the streets

Michael Holahan/Staff
Cindy Schutte waves to the crowd from inside the Wells Fargo stagecoach during the Horse and Carriage Parade down Broad Street. Saturday afternoon's parade marked the first appearance of a Wells Fargo stagecoach in Augusta.

A replica of the famous Wells Fargo stagecoaches made a special appearance Saturday in the Augusta Horse and Carriage Parade.

"People have seen stagecoaches on TV, in movies or in print, so when they see it in person, some say that it's bigger than they thought or it's smaller than what they thought. It's a treat to see it in person, and it's interesting to see the actual size," said Doug Murphey, the supervisor of the drivers for Wells Fargo's appearance program.

Wells Fargo stagecoaches weigh about 4,000 pounds, and the wheels range from 3 to 5 feet in diameter. The interior and driver's area feature leather and wood flooring.

"It is a replica of the Abbott and Downing coaches that were made in Concord, N.H.," said David Helmuth, who is in charge of stagecoach operations for stagecoach No. 20.

The coaches are also known for the horses that draw them. For parades, only four horses are used, though Wells Fargo coaches are often identified by their signature six horses.

"Back in the old days, from city to city, six horses were used, and that is what people usually recognize with the coach," Mr. Helmuth said. "But when you have six horses, you can't turn too well, so four horses were used within the city. That's why only four are used in parades; it's easier to maneuver."

People often associate stagecoaches with robberies, but those were actually rare, Mr. Murphey said.

The stagecoaches have made more than 800 appearances in North America during the past 50 years. Saturday's parade was the second appearance of a Wells Fargo stagecoach in Georgia and the first appearance in Augusta.