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Friday, September 16, 2016

The "House Ornamentation From The Past" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just clicked on my little blue desktop folder titled "Street Ornaments" so I could used the photographs in a story about ... well, street ornaments; for lack of any other nomenclature. This came about after reading a story in the local newspaper written by Jack Brubaker, aka "The Scribbler.  His "Carriages are gone, but stepping stones remain" story reminded me of the many photos I have taken over the past few years of stepping stones, hitching posts and boot scrapers.  Do you know the use of all three of these items?  Well, you know by now, if you have been reading this blog's stories for the past seven years, that I'm going to tell you!  
A carriage stone and hitching post are
both visible in this photograph.
First, stepping stones are placed on pavements along the edge of a street to allow a person to exit a horse-drawn carriage more easily.  Hitching posts are metal posts by the curb that have a metal ring on them that allow the carriage driver to tie the reins of the horse to  during a visit or stop.  Lastly, boot scrapers are usually decorative cast iron pieces that are placed near the front door of a residence to allow residents and visitors the chance to scrap off the dirt and horse poop from their shoes before entering their home.  By now you can see that you aren't going to find too many of these items anymore, especially in more modern cities that were founded after the automobile was invented.  But, for towns such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, my home town, which was founded on May 10, 1729, you will still find a few of each.  
The decorative boot scraper used to clean boots.
"The Scribbler" talked in his article today about just a few of the carriage steps that still remain in Lancaster and where they are located.  I happened to already have photos of all but perhaps the one that he said was the best-known carriage step in Lancaster.  Well, I just had to hustle downtown and see it for myself.  It is located directly outside what used to be the famous Grape Hotel in downtown Lancaster.  According to the plaque on the wall of the building located behind the carriage step, "It was the meeting place of numerous revolutionary groups and committees and notable among Colonial Hostelries as a center of the Spirit of Independence in Lancaster County." So, follow along with my photographs from the past years and see what an historic city, such as Lancaster, has to offer to travelers from the past.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Boot scraper with some curls on top.

This boot scraper is stuck between planter and sculpture.  More than likely it hasn't been used in the recent past.

Here are two carriage steps at two city homes.

Love this little boot scraper.

This carriage step by the tree has a letter "H" on it.  More than likely the last name of the home owner when the stone was place by the curb.

Another small decorative boot scraper.

This carriage step is located in the first block on North Queen Street in downtown Lancaster.  Behind it on the building with the metal-work on the front is a plaque telling the history of the Grape Hotel as I have listed in my story.

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