History Hero: Don Werner
Don and Connie Werner are a team saving history with their own hands. In a way, they relive history. In the eastern Kansas town of Horton, they run Werner Wagon Works. Since 1988 they have rebuild old historic wagons, and new replicas from scratch including a Prairie Schooner – which were popular in on the Oregon Trail in the mid 19th century. They live very nearly on top of the old Oregon and California Trails — the route the Pony Express riders followed out of St. Joseph Missouri, so a wagon builder — a wainwright — fits right in with the history out here.
Many of their wagons are on display at museums all across the country. Don had been an electrician until the wagon building bug hit him. Now he builds or works on about a dozen wagons a year. They just finished building a new wagon for the University of Oklahoma Sooners — after their wagon flipped over on the field during a game in 2019.
Connie and Don also are members of the National Pony Express Association, and rode on many of the rides over the years. You can learn a little about Connie and Don in our video short Old Wagons of the Great Road West, and Pony Express: Back on the Trail.
Subscribe to Watch it All
Subscribe to Saving Americana and get access to all of our Big Stories and other Episodes too!