Location: Old Town (4 Miles North of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: 10AM – 5PM
Features: One of Only 7 Wells Fargo History Museums in the Country; Includes One of the Few Remaining Original Butterfield Stage Coaches.
Wells Fargo History Museum Highlights: The Wells Fargo Museum is within the Old Town San Diego Historic State Park. The Park includes a few buildings that are related to the original stagecoach operations in San Diego. This Museum provides a rare glimpse into the story of the Butterfield Overland Mail service and the Wells Fargo Coaches that carried money, mail, and news back-and-forth from the East to the West Coast during the Gold Rush and before the development of transcontinental railways and telegraph lines.
What to Expect:
- Plan on spending up to an hour in the Wells Fargo Museum.
- Start with the 15 minute video in the back room that explains the history of the Butterfield Stage Coach.
- A large interactive wall monitor takes visitors on a day-by-day look at the 24 day, 2,800 mile journey on the Buttefield Trail, which traveled from the end of the rail line in St. Louis to the eastern part of San Diego before heading north to San Francisco. (A reconstruction of the Butterfield Station in Vallecito is now a San Diego County Park).
- In addition to the original Wells Fargo Stagecoach, don’t miss the chance to read through newspapers published in the 1850s and 1860s, as well as look at a 19th century pocket watch, an original telegraph machine, and an original painting of 19th century San Diego.
- You will also learn about the stagecoach trail that ran from San Antonio to San Diego.
- Don’t miss out on additional historic Wells Fargo stagecoaches in the Seeley Stables just a block away. Learn more about the Seeley Stables at our page on the Old Town San Diego Historic State Park.
Wells Fargo Museum Video – For more on what to expect, watch a short video tour of the stagecoach museum.
History of the Wells Fargo Stage Coach – The San Diego Historical Society provides a detailed look at the Wells Fargo operations in Old Town, which started in 1857. You will learn about the stagecoach trails, the agents (some of whose homes are now among the Old Town attractions), and the story behind the antique pocket watch you will see on display at the Museum.
Information on Visiting The Wells Fargo History Museum
- Parking is Free
- Entrance to the Museum is Free
Directions from Google Maps to 2733 San Diego Avenue in San Diego, CA 92110. (One block from the Old Town State Park Information Center)
Parking – There is free street parking in Old Town. However, many spots limit parking time to 2 or 3 hours. You will also see a number of parking lots on the Old Town State Park Map. The best parking opportunities can be found by driving along Juan Street between the corner with Taylor Street and just north of the corner with Harney Street at the Heritage Park Victorian Village. Overall, the best advice is to take the first available parking spot as you enter Old Town. If you don’t have patience looking for a parking spot, you should take the Trolley. (See Transit below.) On evenings and weekends, you can use the CALTRANS parking lot at 4050 Taylor Street. From here, you will have about a quarter mile walk, including crossing the busy Taylor Street.
Traffic – It is relatively easy to reach Old Town since it is close to both the I-5 and I-8 freeways. Traffic on the I-5 is not bad in this area. You will have some heavy delays if you need to head east on I-8 during the evening rush hour. There will also be a slight delay if you need to head west on I-8 to the end of the freeway during the evening rush hour. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)
Transit - The Blue and Green lines of the San Diego Trolley stop at the Old Town station, which is about one long block away from the Wells Fargo Museum. This is the best way to get in and out of Old Town. (See San Diego Transit Information for information on using the online Transit Planner that will plan your route to Old Town and to print out a Trolley Schedule.)