Dashing through the snow in a one-horse family sleigh

By: 
Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

Bob Hassenger, of Forest Home Township, is pictured with his family sleigh, which was manufactured by the Lull Carriage Company of Kalamazoo. 

 

REGION – Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh is a Christmas vision most don't get to experience, but it's something local resident Bob Hassenger has not only known all of his life, but intends to see to it that his family enjoys for many years to come.

Hassenger, of Forest Home Township, grew up with a traditional one-horse open sleigh.

"Legend has it that my dad courted my mother in it in St. Joseph County, where my dad owned a farm," Hassenger recalled. "We enjoyed lots of good times in it when I was a boy."

Manufactured by the Lull Carriage Company of Kalamazoo in 1890, horse-drawn "cutters" (as they were called at the time), were just one of the many agricultural implements made by the then well-known company, which prospered until 1920 when it was sold to the Dort Motor Car Company of Flint.

"In the 1800s and early 1900s, there were no cars and roads were rough, especially in the winter," Hassenger explained. "Sleighs provided an easy, and fairly quick, method of transportation during the winter months."

As Hassenger's father grew older, the sleigh spent more and more time in the barn, until it was eventually stored in the rafters, where Bob spotted it on a return visit to the family farm in 1961.

"I asked my dad what he was going to do with it and he said 'Give it to you,'" Hassenger said. "I got it out of the rafters, took it apart, packed it up and hauled it down to Illinois, where my wife and I were living with our family at the time."

Over the course of several years, the sleigh was restored to mint condition with the assistance of Amish craftsmen in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Read the full story in our regular edition of The Review. To subscribe to the paper for just $34 a year, which includes access to our full online e-edition, please go to the subscription page on this website at: http://www.antrimreview.net/subscribe/

 

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