resources games films
Resources essay
Resources timeline
Resources lessonplan
Games agri
Games trans
films hopfarm
films victory~~/\~~
Browse Searches Resources Games Films About Home

Lessons Menu - Lesson 1 - Lesson 2 - Lesson 3 - Lesson 4 - Lesson 5 - Lesson 6 - Lesson 7 - Lesson 8

Lesson Plan 4 - Transportation
download lesson04.pdf

This lesson introduces students to the different types of horse-drawn vehicles that were used in California during the period from 1840-1929. In Lesson 4, students use the Sacramento History Online database at

1. Name several types of horse-drawn vehicles that were used in the 1800s.
2. Use the SHO database to find specific historical information.
3. Determine the services that you would need to maintain a horse-drawn vehicle.

4.1.3 - 4.1.5 Physical and human geographic features that define places and regions in California
4.4.1 - 4.4.4 California's rise as an agricultural and industrial power

CLICK to open this article in a separate window that can be printed with most browsers.

CLICK to download this PDF document, which then can be viewed and printed with Adobe Reader.


to the top

DOCUMENTS TO DISCUSS (view online or print screen)
The documents below provide examples of horse-drawn vehicles.
CLICK on an image to view or print the document.

view large image
1. Western Hotel
Hand-colored view of the three-story Western Hotel, with balconies on the second and third floors; horse-drawn streetcar, stagecoach, and wagon in the street.

view large image
2. Union Hotel, Orleans Hotel, and Birch building
Shows a stagecoach in front of the Orleans Hotel, home of the California Stage Company.

view large image
3. Hardware, farm implements and vehicles; The Thomson-Diggs Co.
Catalog illustration of a rural mail wagon.

view large image
4. City of Sacramento Waste Paper wagon
Eight men posed in front of horse-drawn, City of Sacramento waste paper wagon piled with sacks of paper.

view large image
5. Photographic print of a horse-drawn wagon being loaded with pumpkins
by two men

[ca. 1880]

view large image
6. Wagon with children
[ca. 1900]
Horse-drawn wagon with children and adults seated on benches.

to the top

1. Print any of the images shown above that you will use in your discussion, as well as Student Activity Sheet 4 and Key. (Label the images by their number to identify them in the instructions)

2. Read Background Article 4. You may wish to read it to your students or print it and have them read it by themselves. Discuss any questions that they may have.

3. Show and discuss Document 1, Western Hotel. Tell students that the picture shows the city of Sacramento. Ask them what kind of document it is. (print) How many kinds of transportation can they find? (horse-drawn streetcar, stagecoach, wagon) What is the same about these kinds of transportation? (all are horse-drawn) How old do they think the picture is? (1880) Why do they think so?

4. Show and discuss Document 2, Union Hotel, Orleans Hotel, and Birch building. The Orleans Hotel is the building where James Birch and other stage owners set up headquarters for the California Stage Company in 1853. Why do students think business owners would join forces, instead of competing against each other?

5. Tell students that many types of horse-drawn vehicles were needed to carry people and freight before automobiles and trucks were introduced. Ask the students for examples of the types of vehicles that would be needed. The SHO database includes a wide variety of wagons and carriages. Some documents are advertisements for vehicles or related services, and many show different types of delivery vehicles. Show and discuss Documents 3 - 5, the Thomson-Diggs Co. rural mail wagon, the City of Sacramento Waste Paper wagon, and the wagon with pumpkins.

6. Show and discuss Document 6, Wagon with children. Discuss how children might have traveled to school in 1900. Ask where the students think the children shown in the photograph might be going. Do they think this is a school bus? The description does not provide any more information.

7. Give students Activity Sheet 4: Horse-drawn Vehicles (printed from the PDF file). After they have finished the activity, discuss their answers as a group.

to the top

1. Search the SHO collection together, using the keyword and advanced searches. What types of horse-drawn vehicles can you discover?

2. Decide what kind of job you would have liked to have in the decades from 1850-1909. Can you find a picture of a vehicle that would have helped you in this job? Draw a picture of the vehicle, and describe how you would use it in your work.

3. Write a journal entry entry describing a trip that you took on a stagecoach in the 1850s. How did it feel to ride in such a vehicle? Where did you stay? Whom did you meet, and where were they going?

to the top


Dunlop, R. Wheels West, 1590-1900. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1977.

Winther, O.O. Via western express and stagecoach. Stanford, CA: Stanford
  University Press, 1945.

to the top


Transportation in the 19th Century

Wells Fargo's History Pages
Lists different types of horse-drawn vehicles.

to the top
Sacramento History Online © 2003 - 2004