Identifying the maker of a paint-less, early western vehicle can be difficult… Especially, when the challenge is amplified by a lack of photography or access to the vehicle.
When we were approached for insights into this government archive photo, we immediately began to review the piece and catalog multiple, significant details. After careful scrutiny, we were able to conclude that the freighter shown here is an original Studebaker Rack Bed wagon with steel skeins and California seat riser. The topmost sideboard has been added but much of the remainder of the box appears original – albeit weathered and worn from use.
According to archeologist, Jon Czaplicki, this wagon was used to help carry supplies (in this photo, luggage for the stone masons) while building the Roosevelt Dam just a few years after the turn of the 20th century. Special thanks to the Arizona Bureau of Reclamation and Salt River Project for sharing this significant piece of history with us.