Story by Kathleen Wilson
A once lost historical artifact found its way home over a century later! Each year, as part of a holiday exhibit, a beautiful one horse open sleigh has been displayed in the bank on Lempka Dr. by the Historical Society of Florida.
The sleigh was commissioned by a nephew of William H. Seward from the Green Blacksmith Shop in the Village of Florida circa. 1860. Its quality is unmatched today and everyone is welcome to view this wonderful exhibit at the Sterling Bank.
It’s the Seward horse drawn sleigh in all its splendor, accompanied by other historical artifacts and the history of Samuel Green, who forged the steel by hand to make this exquisite, velvet-lined sleigh. No one knows if the horse was adorned with Sunday bells, or if the sleigh was used by Seward’s nephew to travel from his home in Goshen, NY to visit his famous Uncle in Florida, but it is known that it’s a true treasure that was acquired by the Florida Historical Society with the help of Ray Green in 1996.
The Samuel Green Blacksmith and Carriage Shop also made wagons, harvesting machinery, land rollers, and agricultural implements, and in earlier days, the iron mongers made horseshoes, nails, and wagon wheels. Dr. Frederick W. Seward, of Goshen, operated the “Pines,” a sanatorium which was badly damaged by fire in 1916. The county demolished the building in 1958, but not before auctioning off its contents, including the sled, along with many artifacts. Joseph De Roberts of Warwick had possession of the sleigh and restored it to its original grandeur.
Gary Randall, President of the Florida Historical Society, said, “We received a phone call from Mr. De Roberts who graciously offered to sell the sled to the Historical Society of Florida.”
Gary said that was in 1996, and Ray Green made the purchase possible through a donation from his employer. Mr. Green’s generosity also included bequeathing the Green Family home to the Florida Historical Society.
For additional information on the Historical Society and the Green Family Home visit www.flhistoricalsociety.com, or to donate artifacts or volunteer, contact Gary or Kathy Randall at 651-7466. And, in case anyone didn’t know, Florida still has a blacksmith shop on Jayne St. in the Village of Florida and offers blacksmithing, metalsmithing, and other workshops. Visit www.centerformetalarts.com for more information.
When someone sees this beautiful cutter sleigh, they can easily imagine a horse, in all its regality, wearing Sunday bells and proudly parading down a snow-covered Main St. on a beautiful winter’s day in the Village of Florida! What a sight it must have been!