ago, Ruth and I toured the Budweiser Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo.
The tour was fascinating as at the time it was the foremost, most
modern and automated brewery in the world. When we reached the stables
where many of the retired Budweiser horses lived, we were amazed
for the structure was as elegant as a nice home.
This triggered research on the evolution of the horse stable. I
found that the "stables" of today had replaced "livery stables"
located in cities during the height of the horsepower era before
the advent of the gas-powered automobile.
Livery stable is derived from "delivery stable" for at one time
almost all goods purchased in stores in the city were delivered
by the store to the customer's home. This required large outlays
of barns, horses, wagons and buggies for delivery purposes, thus
the name livery stable.
The term "livery" used by itself, seems to have been coined in the
smaller towns of the Midwest.
Here, stores were smaller and often contracted or hired private
firms for customer deliveries. These private firms often rented
mounts, teams and equipment to the public along with farrier and
same period, many of the more wealthy individuals owned their own
stock and equipment, and they housed these in elaborate barns located
on the rear of their property. These were called stables or "carriage
sheds." It appears that maybe a privately owned horse facility should
be called a stable and the same facility open for the public called
Along with liveries, livery stables and stables there were also
freight companies for heavier hauling of products. Some blacksmith
shops were versatile, offering farrier service, wagon repair, saddle
and harness repairs and gun-smithing. Any of these businesses might
also offer livestock sales in conjunction with the other services.
All of these evolved from the old time "wagon yard." Both in Europe
and early America, travelers sought nightly comfort and protection
at remote taverns and inns who offered fenced or walled courtyards
and stables for stock. Many of these "traveler way-stations" later
became stagecoach stops and grew into villages or towns.
The wagon yards of America came into the history spotlight as settlers
began their treks into the West. The settlements along the trails
opened wagon yards to attract traveler business by housing and feeding
their stock, trading fresh for tired stock, selling supplies and
providing protection for the campers. Many wagon yards offered farrier,
veterinary and grooming services along with wagon and harness repairs.
Most had a single man's bunk house with privies and offered firewood,
hay and grain for sale.
After the country settled up, the settlers kept returning to the
wagon yards to sell and barter garden produce, poultry and livestock,
seeds and plants and home-made items, and they came especially to
visit with neighbors and enjoy companionship. The young people courted
by strolling around the wagon yard with their escorts while children
played games and the adults played cards or dominos. A night or
a weekend spent at a wagon yard was similar to our weekend vacations
or shopping expeditions to the mall.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
21, 2007 Column