Winnipeg Cab History / 5: Ham McMicken (2)
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The Dakota at the steamboat landing on the Assiniboine River just west of the Forks in May, 1873. Upper Fort Garry and the Hudson's Bay Company warehouse are in the background.


Fort Garry and Assiniboine River at Junction with Red River. May 1873. Archives Manitoba, Boundary Commission (1872-1874) 42 (Negative N14017).

Winnipeg Cab History / 5

Ham McMicken (2)

Ham McMicken started a hardware business with a partner named Taylor but he was also involved in freight hauling. In 1874 the railway had not yet reached Winnipeg and freight came in by steamboat. Express wagons picked up goods at the steamboat landing and delivered them to local destinations.

When passengers rode in the wagons a primitive cab operation was born:

Our rigs were something more than just drays. Some of the owners of the things that we carried to and from the steamboat landing, wanted to have an eye on their property while it was being carted, so we built seats on our rigs where customers could sit and watch that their belongings didn't run away. It was more money in our pocket too, for we charged the customer for his seat as well as for carrying his luggage.

McMicken's company was probably the Pioneer City Express which used the McMicken and Taylor hardware store as a booking office. In 1874 it was advertising "A comfortable and commodious vehicle in attendance upon the arrival of Every boat," which sounds like an improvement over the "rigs" McMicken described.

Pioneer City had a competitor in the City Dray and Express Company who advertised that they would convey passengers as well as freight anywhere in Winnipeg and vicinity.


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