June 17, 2024

From Cleaning Horses to Cleaning Cars

Nestled in among a vast array of military items are two small wooden objects which were made in Delphos. According to the 1892 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, W.T. McCracken built a stirrup factory at what is now the Canal Street car wash sometime between 1888 and 1892 for the sole purpose of making wooden horse stirrups and wooden scrapers to remove the lather from horses. One of the largest customers was the U.S. government since both these items were used by the U.S. Cavalry. Perhaps some of them were used by the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War in 1898. The 1904 Sanborn maps show the factory was owned by Whirrett Brothers and employed 4 men, but by 1946 a body repair shop was located there. Records in the 1950’s list it as Alspaugh’s Body and Paint Shop and in the late 1980’s the building was razed to build the Ace Car Wash.

Unfortunately, the museum does not have a picture of the building in its collection, but if anyone has one, we would appreciate a copy.

Note: Sanborn Maps were originally created to help insurance companies determine fire insurance liability and included detailed information about structures in towns and cities, showing size, shape and building material. The maps also included names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. Delphos maps were done eight times between 1884 and 1946. The maps have been digitized and are accessible to Delphos Public Library card holders by going to the Ohio Web Library.

Picture: The curved item in the foreground is a wooden scraper used to remove the lather from horses. The end facing left was rounded so it could be gripped. Several wooden stirrups are also shown

Printed in the Delphos Herald June 26, 2010 by the Delphos Canal Commission.

Wooden Stirrups

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