There were no formal banks in San Francisco during the early years of the gold rush, and miners often entrusted their gold dust to saloonkeepers. In 1852 Wells Fargo opened its first bank in the city, and the company soon established banking offices in mother-lode camps throughout California. The museum displays samples of nuggets and gold dust from mines, a mural-size map of the Mother Lode, mementos of the poet bandit Black Bart (who signed his poems "Po8"), and an old
telegraph machine on which you can practice sending codes. The showpiece is a red Concord stagecoach, the likes of which carried passengers from St. Joseph, Missouri, to San Francisco in just three weeks during the 1850s.