Fred Ronstadt first came to Tucson in 1882 as an apprentice blacksmith at the wagon shop of Dalton and Vasquez. By 1888 he had mastered his craft and in 1892 opened his first wagon making establishment.
The story of Mr. Ronstadt's early years in Tucson, Arizona Territory, including an excellent first person narrative of the tools and techniques utilized to make a wagon from raw materials, is recounted in Wagon Making in Southern Arizona written by James E. Sherman and Edward R. Ronstadt. Fred Ronstadt's life story is told in Borderman: the Memoirs of José María Ronstadt.
In 1913 the F. Ronstadt Company published a marketing brochure which illustrates the processes for wagon making. Facts: The F. Ronstadt Co. is a unique historical resource, now available in its entirety on the World Wide Web.
Through the generosity of the Ronstadt family, The University of Arizona Library is able to offer a rare glimpse of the past through photographs of the people, places and products that defined transportation history in territorial Arizona. View contemporary images of:
- Ronstadt Wagons (brief view)
- Original Wagon Catalogue
- Wagon Making Shop
- F. Ronstadt Co. locations
- Interior Views of F. Ronstadt C.
- Early Tucson Wagon Advertising
- Portraits of the Ronstadt Family
All photographs are from the Ronstadt Family Archives, used by permission. Some of the pictures have been edited to enhance their visual appeal and usefulness to scholars: learn more.