An' Wheres Cookie? The Chuck Wagon

Leslie van de Ligt

Sherwood Park, Canada

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1250 Views May 12, 2011

Featured In

*Old Things Group March 31, 2010
2, 3, 4 Club (2 a Day) March 26, 2010
Wild West Show March 19, 2010
Nostalgic Art and Photography January, 2010
The Woman Photographer May 23, 2009
Rural Around The Globe May 5, 2009
Image Writing April 29,2009

Placed 9Th in the “Old Wagons Or Wagon Wheels” March 31, 2010

Placed 10Th in the “Your Most Featured Featured Shot in” March 17, 2010

Placed 4TH in the “Your Best Shot In Rural Canada Challenge”*

My research of covered wagons has identified this as a chuck wagon. It was half rain, half snow as I was taking the picture so it was not hard to imagine the hardships of being on the trail driving that wagon. One can see the weary cowboys relief when this wagon came in sight after a long day in the saddle. Located on Highway 14, Alberta.
Charles Goodnight is credited with inventing the chuck wagon. In 1866 he and his partner, Oliver Loving, made preparations to take a herd of 2,000 longhorn cattle from near Fort Belknap in northern Texas, to Denver. Goodnight purchased a government wagon and had it completely rebuilt according to his specifications in seasoned bois d’arc, the toughest wood available.
The distinguishing feature of the wagon was the sloping box on the rear with hinged lid that lowered to become a cook’s worktable. The box was fitted to the width of the wagon and contained shelves and drawers for holding food and utensils. To the cowboys, “chuck” was food, so the box was called a chuck box and the wagon became known as a chuck wagon.
Goodnight’s early prototype of the chuck wagon was copied widely and changed little in the years to follow.
Most chuck wagons had the same basic design. They were large, sturdy, four-wheeled wagons with bows across the top covered with waterproof sheets. There was usually a cowhide stretched beneath the wagon bed and fastened at the corners; it was used to carry wood or cow chips. In the front of some of the wagons was a jockey box, which was used for storing tools and heavier equipment needed on the trail. History taken from webstie with my Rebel XSI Corel Photo Album Cropped

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