Cobblestone Museum acquires barn to showcase transportation relics

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 March 2021 at 11:01 am

1920 peddler’s wagon, carriage steps with a buggy and a fully restored Civil War-era sleigh among the collection

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bill Lattin, former director of the Cobblestone Society Museum, stands in the entrance of the new Transportation Barn on the Vagg property, which the museum has just acquired. Lattin stands next to a Civil War-era sleigh donated by Elba historian Earl Ross.

CHILDS – After a year of being mostly closed due the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cobblestone Society Museum is ready to move ahead with several projects.

Following the announcement of the opening by appointment only of a Currier and Ives exhibit in the Art Gallery in the brick house next to the Cobblestone Church, Cobblestone Museum director Doug Farley and former director Bill Lattin are ready to develop a Transportation Exhibit in the barn on the Vagg property, which the museum recently acquired.

“We have had several transportation-related pieces that we haven’t had room to display,” Farley said. “We are pulling it all together and moving it into the Vagg Transportation Barn.”

Several items will highlight the exhibit, including a circa 1920 peddler’s wagon, carriage steps with a buggy and a fully restored Civil War-era sleigh.

The peddler’s wagon was donated by Donna Rhodey from West Barre, whose father used the cart to deliver groceries from 1928 to 1959.

The buggy was donated by Tillman’s Village Inn when they converted their carriage house into the Carriage Room at the restaurant. The inn is the last remaining structure on Route 104 which was formerly a stage coach stop.

The sleigh was donated by Elba historian Earl Ross. He received the sleigh from a friend many years ago. He said it was in bad shape he got it. It had been stored in a barn and a ton of hay fell on it. He hired Amish craftsmen to repair it and it is in excellent condition now, he said.

The sleigh was manufactured in the 1800s by Excelsior Carriage Company in Watertown. It has a beautiful canopy and is unusual in that it has working doors on its sides.

These carriage steps are shown with a buggy which was donated by Tillman’s Village Inn across the road from the Vagg Transportation Barn. The carriage came from their carriage house when they converted it into the Carriage Room at the restaurant.

Lattin is looking forward to pulling the exhibit together. He plans to move some of the museum’s vehicles out of storage, including the peddler’s cart.

“I’ve only seen one other like it and that was at the Cooperstown Farm Museum,” Lattin said.

The cart belonged to Donna Rhodey’s father LaVerne, who ran a general store in West Barre for almost 60 years.

Two other items in the Transportation Exhibit are a pickle dish cutter and a little red wagon.

Lattin said the pickle dish cutter predates him, so it came there in the 1960s. He remembers his father, who was former Orleans County historian, calling it that, but he can’t find any other information on it.

The little red wagon is c. 1905 and once belonged to Harold Root.

Farley said the museum isn’t soliciting any added items for the Transportation Barn because they already have enough to fill the space.

For the immediate future, the museum and Vagg property will be open by appointment only by calling (585) 589-9013.

A peddler’s cart like this one was donated to the Cobblestone Museum’s Transportation Barn by Donna Rhodey, whose father used it for 45 years delivering groceries from his store in West Barre. This picture is courtesy of the Hadley Farm Museum in Hadley, Mass.