This imposing townhouse, built in 1853, was the home of Samuel Shoemaker, organizer of the Adams Express Company. The company that began in 1840 with one man and a satchel grew into a Goliath in the next few decades, serving every state and Territory in the land and employing 50,000 people. All means of transportation were used - rail, river, wagon and coach - to transport all manner of goods, from bridal flowers to newspapers to gold to corpses. All were "tenderly yet... swiftly transported" to their destinations.
To Shoemaker goes the credit for organziing and extending the express business throughout the South and West. In 1841, he was asked by E.S. Sanford, of Adams Express, to help organize an express line between Philadelphia and Baltimore. A few months later, Shoemaker and Sanford expanded their business to include Richmond and Charleston, South Carolina. In the next decade, the two men extended their lines, under the name of Adams Express Company, throughout the West and South until the extent of their business was great than that of any one line of railroad in the country. In 1854, various express businesses were consolidated into a joint stock company under the name of Addams Express Company. Shoemaker remained one of the principal managers until his death in 1884.