Buggy, picked up at yard sale, finds a home at Panek’s

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Jim Panek saw it at a yard sale in Gaines, an old buggy with wobbly wheels.

The buggy likely dates back at least a century. You don’t see too many of them around anymore.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” Panek said.

He bought it and has given it shelter in a barn next to his family’s home at 13420 Countyhouse Rd.

I was at the barn today for a story on Panek’s daughter Katie Klotzbach, who opened County House Christmas Trees. She is selling about 300 trees from the barn. I tend to get distracted around old stuff, especially items that are part of the horse-and-buggy culture.

The Albion and Gaines area is loaded with hitching posts, carriage steps and mounting blocks. I really think a trail of these artifacts could draw people out here and stir some community pride.

A dream some day for the community would be to turn one of these old carriage barns into a museum. There are a lot of these old barns behind some of the nicer houses in the community.

Before today I knew one local person who had a buggy from the pre-automobile era. I know of two sleighs. If we ever had a museum or historic site in a carriage barn, we really should have a buggy in there.

For now, the public can see one of these while they go hunt for a Christmas tree. The buggy is even decorated for the holidays.

Panek has rescued other horse-and-buggy artifacts. He moved the carriage step from his grandparents’ property on Route 18 in Lyndonville and now has it by his house.

He also bought a hitching post that was removed from a property in Eagle Harbor. Panek intends to set it up by the carriage step in front of his house. I’m happy the trail of these relics keeps getting bigger.