From here to there: Transportation of the West

One of the Museum’s most prized collections is our horse-drawn vehicles collection. The exhibit features carriages, wagons, and carts. A carriage is defined as “a wheeled vehicle; especially: a horse-drawn vehicle designed for private use and comfort.” A wagon is defined as “a usually four-wheeled vehicle for transporting bulky commodities and drawn originally by animals” or “a lighter typically horse-drawn vehicle for transporting goods or passengers.” A cart is defined as “a heavy usually horse-drawn 2-wheeled vehicle used for farming or transporting freight” or “a lightweight 2-wheeled vehicle drawn by a horse, pony, or dog.” We have vehicles on display that fit all of these definitions. This exhibit takes up most of our downstairs and features about 20 vehicles. Of the 20 vehicles, two of them are carts. The Carreta is one of our oldest vehicles on display and was made between 1780 and 1800. This type of cart was used extensively in the Southwest and Mexico. Also on display are two Chuck Wagons that were donated by Sid Goodloe of Carrizo Valley Ranch in Capitan, New Mexico. One of the Chuck Wagons is an original and the other is a recreation based off of the original Chuck Wagon created by Charles Goodnight. This exhibit also features two Surrey wagons. One of the Surreys features a fringe top like the one mentioned in the song “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” from the musical “Oklahoma!” Another standout vehicle is our Conestoga wagon. These types of wagons were used for transport of goods along the Santa Fe Trail. On display are also the Doctor’s Buggy, Hearse, Dump Wagon, Express Wagon, Hempstead cart, Jump Seat Phaeton, Mountain Coach, Side-bar buggy, Side-spring Studebaker, Slat-bottom Buckboard, and Station Wagon.

Along with the wagons, this exhibit also features several different saddles. Anne Stradling’s family lived next door to the Roosevelts and as a result of this; we have two saddles that belonged to the family. The first, a purple velvet Arabian saddle, belonged to President Franklin Roosevelt and the second, a Tibetan saddle, belonged to Kermit Roosevelt, son of Teddy Roosevelt. Other saddles on display include a couple different styles of Western saddles, a Mexican saddle, R.O. Anderson’s saddle, and a saddle that belonged to Ray Reed.