Where in the World were these buggy factories? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Where in the World were these buggy factories?

September 6, 2002

It's 1866, and everyone in this town has a job in, or related to the buggy business. After all, this is the town where five buggy shops were competing for the chance to carry you down mainstreet, and the two biggest names in the business were Summers and Smith.

"They returned to this town after the war and began a business," said buggy museum curator Shanna English. "They were aggressive and demanding of their employees, and the company did not last long, so they went into business for themselves."

All of this competition made this town the biggest buggy producer south of Cincinnati, as indicated by the drawing of the Smith and Summers Factory at left. Ads circulated the country, boasting the comfort and craftsmanship of this Georgia-made transportation.

"The route salesman would hook a team to five buggies and then go to the smaller communities. When they got down to the last buggy they would sell it with the team," said English.

So, all was good. Jobs were plentiful, the economy was good. Those with money showed it off with their buggy. Those less blessed in the pocket could rent a buggy to impress their girl. But then something went wrong. Technology moved into the fast lane.

"From 1925 to 1928 the companies were mainly making spare parts, but by 1928 all of the bugy businesses were gone because of the automobile," English said.

Now a trip down the road still features the buildings that were once buggy showrooms, but the downtown streets of Barnesville are now filled with the invention that brought an end to the buggy capital of the south, the automobile.

There are buggies on display in the old jail museum right behind the courthouse. Barnesville will celebrate the 29th annual Buggy Days September 21, and 22nd.

The town is located in Lamar County north of Macon off Interstate 75.

posted at 12:45 PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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