Carriages or Wagons?

People often refer to the four-wheeled tourist vehicles pulled by teams of horses and mules as “carriages”, but that is technically not correct. Such vehicles used for hauling heavy loads (in this case up to 16 passengers and driver) are really wagons, while carriages are actually the more ornate and more private animal-drawn vehicles. We have both clip-clopping down the historic streets of Charleston, and all pulled by critters with leather “diapers” attached to the rear end to help keep streets cleaner.
Today, there are five wagon and carriage companies and three driven routes featuring dozens of vehicles, but when I was growing up on Legare Street in the sixties, there was only one. It was a fine carriage driven by an older Austrian gentleman with the most appropriate name, Mr. Waggoner, and it was an enjoyable sight to see him, dressed with riding jacket, buggy whip and tie, taking the occasional tourist couple down the streets of Charleston.
Nowadays with so many animals on the streets, there is sometimes congestion and complaint, but Charlestonians should remember that horses and mules have long plied the streets, pulling cotton drays, ice wagons, and exquisite carriages. In 1866, tracks were laid in select streets for trolleys that were pulled by draft animals until they were electrically charged in 1897, and full-service livery stables existed all around the historic city as late as the 1930’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *