As we’ve shared so many times, due to the prevalence and significance of horse drawn transportation in America, the subject of wagons and western vehicles continues to have important historic, social and financial relevance.
Earlier this year, we were contacted by archeological officials working a dig in Los Angeles. In the process of excavation work within the city’s Echo Park Lake, elements of a wooden vehicle were discovered. After receiving photographs of the find, we were able to confirm the parts as belonging to the rear gear of a farm wagon. The remaining section of the gear included portions of the rear wheels, hounds, bolster, axle, reach plate and brake roller.
While significant elements were missing that might have helped secure a brand identity, based on multiple construction features, we were able to date the gear as most likely being built sometime between the mid-1880’s and just prior to the twentieth century. Because the area is so rich with local history - including being home to numerous early film companies prior to World War 1, it’s difficult to say whether the gear was in the lake bed prior to the lake’s creation or if it was deposited there afterward. Several westerns were apparently shot in the Echo Park area during the first part of the 20th century as well.
From working with archeologists in St. Louis, Kansas City and Phoenix to assisting with interpretive details of this gear in Los Angeles and so many others across the country, we’re pleased to see more and more interest in preserving America’s transportation heritage. It’s a rich legacy full of rewards and serves as a constant reminder of the individual spirit and strength that built America.