The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

The Lost Trotting Parks Storyboard Archives

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Lost Trotting Parks Heritage Center Purchases a High Wheel Sulky at Auction

Ernest Lowell and Molly Alexander contacted me regarding the opportunity to purchase a high wheel sulky that the Maine State Museum had placed at Farrin's Country Auctions. Both Ernie and Molly believed that the sulky was of wonderful quality being more than 120 years old. In 1892, the bicycle wheel sulky was invented and became an overnight sensation immediately putting the high wheel sulky into obsolescence. The auction also included sleighs, wagons, and farm equipment. All drawn by horses. Several of the items would have symbolized farming in the 1930's with farm equipment pulled by horses. I do not know the full story regarding why these items would placed in auction. There were many items that would never be part of a historical display. However, the farm equipment was of display quality. I was told that before the Maine State Museum places items at auction, they check with other museums in Maine that might want the items. According to my source, there was no interest on part of Maine's agricultural related museums. For more of the items at this auction, I could understand why other museums were not interested. Perhaps many of the museums already had similar items in their collections. I have visited the museums at the agricultural fairs and several Maine historical societies with farm equipment. The items sold were in my opinion of better quality. Many items were purchased by Mainers. However, many of the farm equipment was purchased for resale at an auction in Wisconsin. Being the son of an Aroostook County potato farmer and seeing the images of my grandfather farming with horse drawn equipment, I was a bit upset knowing that a part of Maine's agricultural heritage was either leaving Maine or perhaps being put back into service. In my view, future generations have lost the opportunity to view farm equipment that tells the story of Maine farmers when horses were key to farm operations.

On Monday, July 8, 2013, I called the Maine State Museum to see if there might be more information on the high wheel sulky. The Museum staff person informed me that the sulky was donated in 1971 by a Dr. Sennett from Machias, Maine.

1 comment:

  1. On July 10th, I contacted the Maine State Museum to see if there was more information on the high wheel sulky. When speaking with museum staff, I found that the museum goes through quite a process when the decision is made to auction off items that have been donated to the museum. The day before I was informed by Skyline Farm that their organization had received three or four items from the state museum that were great additions to their collection.

    I inquired about the high wheel sulky and learned that it had come from Machias, not Hartland as stated by the auctioneer. A Dr. Sennett had donated the sulky in 1971. It will be an interesting challenge to see if there is more to the story -- High Wheel Harness Racing in Machias, Maine! Over the years, Machias had two trotting parks. The earlier park was Riverside Park and the other park was called Sylvan Park. Chances are that this high wheel sulky was used at Riverside Park. More to come!