Sunday, April 09, 2006
Here's a postcard showing a mule train going through Waterloo, Wisconsin. Judging by the buildings, clothing, and style of postcard (divided back, printed in Germany), it must have been printed sometime between 1907 and 1915. The only problem is, I can't seem to find any evidence of a 20-mule team traveling through this part of the country during those specific years.
I thought it might be the Boraxo Company's famous "20 Mule Team Borax" mule team on a tour (from what I've read, the mules were no longer working as borax haulers during that time, having been replaced by narrow-gauge railway in the 1890's), but the Boron Chamber of Commerce people tell me that they toured in the 1950's, going to parades. Clearly, this picture is from a much earlier time.
There is, however, some talk in this story by Joe Zentner of a mule team going to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World's Fair) in St. Louis as part of an advertising campaign, and then touring the East Coast for the next few years, but the story also says that, in late 1906, "the mules were sold and the wagons returned to California," so that wouldn't quite fit, either. Unless the photo was taken previous to the "divided-back era" of postcards, and just postcarded up at a later time. Hmmmm...
2008-July-15 Edited to add:
Another copy of this postcard was recently seen for sale on eBay, with a 1907 postmark.