As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, a new $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo continues a tradition of support for national parks that dates to the 1860s.
As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, a new $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo continues a tradition of support for national parks that dates to the 1860s.
History
April 22, 2016

Ties to national parks forged deep in mountains and rivers

As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, a new $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo continues a tradition of support for national parks that dates to the 1860s.

When you think of national parks, you may think of snow-capped peaks, roaring waterfalls, and lush forests — but probably not a bank. However, Wells Fargo has been connected to national parks since 1864, more than 50 years before the National Park Service was officially established.

As the National Park Service prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary on Aug. 25, 2016, Wells Fargo has donated $250,000 to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to protect America’s parks, connect people to the parks, and inspire the next generation of park stewards. The National Park Foundation helps protect and preserve the more than 400 national parks through private support.

“This is another chapter in our long history with the National Park Service,” says Mary Wenzel, head of Wells Fargo’s Environmental Affairs. “We are thrilled to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary and are excited to see the next generation enjoy our nation’s treasured parks.”

“It is because of supporters like Wells Fargo that we are able to help more people discover their unique connections to our incredibly diverse National Park System,” says Stefanie Mathew, vice president of corporate partnerships at the National Park Foundation. “As we kick off the next century of the National Park Service’s critical work, we couldn’t be more pleased to have Wells Fargo’s support.”

Here are just a few examples of Wells Fargo’s connections with the national parks:

1864

Yosemite National Park’s Mount Conness is named for U.S. Sen. John Conness, a former Wells Fargo express agent in Georgetown, California. In 1864, he introduced legislation in Congress that would preserve Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove. Yosemite National Park in California was established Oct. 1, 1890.

Yosemite National Park’s Mount Conness.
Yosemite National Park’s Mount Conness.

1869

Maj. John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition descended the Green and Colorado Rivers through what is now Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Reportedly, Wells Fargo & Co. Express delivered supplies for the expedition.

Andy Hall, 19, the youngest member of the expedition, returned to Arizona to become a Wells Fargo shotgun messenger, guarding treasure boxes on stagecoaches crossing northern Arizona. Andy was shot and killed in the line of duty near Globe, Arizona, in 1882.

The Colorado River runs through the Grand Canyon.
The Colorado River runs through the Grand Canyon.

1880s

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park, located in California and Nevada, is named for Christian B. Zabriskie, a Wells Fargo express agent in Candelaria, Nevada, in the 1880s. He later became vice president of the mining company Pacific Coast Borax Company, which moved production to the Death Valley area.

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park.
Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park.

1875-1918

Wells Fargo had an express agency in Yosemite Valley from 1875 to 1918. In 1989, Wells Fargo donated $500,000 to restore the historic Wells Fargo Express building and relocate it to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Yosemite National Park.

Wells Fargo’s express office in Yosemite National Park.
Wells Fargo’s express office in Yosemite National Park.
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