Have you ever thought about what it was like to travel in Oshkosh in the late 1800’s? How did we manage to get through our flaming hot Summers, and our freezing cold Winters? The answer to those questions are carriages and sleighs. Instead of simply getting someone to a place in a car which is safe and comfortable, you travelled in a carriage, made of mostly wood, and had two wheels or four wheels depending on the type of carriages. Carriages and sleighs were pulled by horses during that time, and only the rich had automobiles.
When a horse pulled them, they weren’t always a smooth ride, or fast. The roads weren’t paved like they are now, so there were plenty of rocks and bumps in the road. Carriages were usually used during those fall or summer seasons where the weather was nice, because they had wheels and were light, smart, or faster to travel. Sleighs were used during the harsh cold winter, because they were specially designed to travel better on snow due to a smooth supportive bottom which helps glide across the squishy snow easier. Both carriages and sleighs are used to transport people, cargo or both. Although carriages are mainly used for private passenger use, there were other carriages used for public passengers but were called stagecoaches and other things. Sleighs are more well known to be a part of holidays, like movies and TV shows for Christmas where Santa Claus rides a sleigh. Carriages are considered to be more western and used in movies and TV shows with cowboys.
Written by: Kate Anderson
Historic Location: Rudd and Holden Block