How surprised would you be, during your weekday commute, to come across a vehicle like this one tooling along on Route 9? Yet throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the horse-drawn carriage — or phaeton, surrey, sulky, four-in-hand, brougham; there were more than 300 different types — was the main way for most people to get from here to there. More than that, these two- or four-wheeled conveyances were also status symbols, much the same as a Mercedes, Lexus, or other high-end “horseless carriage” is today.
Around the turn of the 20th century, many cities and towns had a local carriage-builder; Poughkeepsie’s Schoonmaker Company, for instance, was known for its closed-top models. The vehicle pictured here — serial number 3668 — was built by the Kingston Carriage Company in Ulster County around 1890. It sits in the entryway of a well-known historic house museum that an artist and pioneering inventor once called home, and is located along the busy thoroughfare mentioned above. On September 27, said museum hosts its annual “Carriage Day.” Visitors can see the site’s collection of antique conveyances and related equipment; drivers clad in historic garb parade their coaches through the grounds and offer driving demonstrations; and hay wagon rides are available for the young (and young at heart).
Do you know where this bygone buggy is parked? Send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!