Vintage buggy a glimpse of history

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Dear Sun Spots: I have a horse drawn buggy with a metal plate on the back that says “Wade & Dunton, Lewiston, ME.” I am looking for information on the history of this company and advice on where to get replacement parts. The buggy is in good condition and can still be driven, but one of the shafts broke this summer. – Kara Simanek, Weld.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers who may be familiar with the history of the Wade & Dunton company, the Androscoggin Historical Society has heard of them. Their 1900-01 directory states that Wade & Dunton were carriage manufacturers at 29 Park St.

Evidently, Eugene L. Dunton was alone at this time as there is no mention of Mr. Wade in connection with this business. The society also shared that the Fryeburg Fair has an example of a Wade & Dunton carriage in their collection.

You also might find the following excerpts from the early Sun Journal newspaper articles below helpful in providing some background information:

A Sept. 17, 1942 Lewiston Journal article mentions “the North American Phillips company has just leased the building at 45 Hammond St., Lewiston, owned by the Wade and (Dunton) Carriage company, Ralph Cummings of Wade and (Dunton) company said today. The three-story building was formerly used by the Highland Shoes company.”

According to a Jan. 12, 1945 Lewiston Daily Sun article, the company used to be located on the easterly side of Park Street, numbered 20-22. The company also owned eight large buildings on Park and Middle streets, numbered 29-37 Park St., 16-18 Park, 20-22 Park, 24-32 Park, and 116-118 Middle St. The property was taken over by The Park Street Corporation, a subsidiary of the Androscoggin County Savings Bank.

An article in the Dec. 13, 1948 Daily Sun states “Wade & Dunton Carriage Co. has to vacate its quarters at 29 Park St. by Feb. 1 to make way for large scale alterations planned by F. W. Woolworth Co. The latter concern is to enlarge its Lisbon Street store by building through to Park Street.

Regarding the repair of the buggy, Sun Spots contacted Skyline Farm, 95 The Lane, North Yarmouth, (207) 829-9203, www.skylinefarm.org, who use Fred Burk of Burk’s Buggies in Bethel for restorations. Burk’s Buggies may be able to help you with your carriage repair and can be contacted at 207-824-2886. Skyline Farm also provided a Web link to many carriage resources at www.acornmr.com/ncdc/dealers.htm.

You can also try contacting Chrysalis Acres, 399 Pownal Road, Freeport, who builds two- and four-wheel horse buggies, 207-865-2047.

Sun Spots also contacted Hansen Wheel and Wagon shop, 605-996-8754, www.hansenwheel.com, which you may remember reading in the Friday Dec. 8 Sun Journal insert “American Profile,” on page 16 and titled, “Made in America: Crafting Vintage Vehicles.”

Hansen Wheel’s company representative Jon Christiansen said they can provide replacement wood for the shafts and also suggested contacting the Amish company, Woodlyn Coach in Pennsylvania, at 330-674-9124.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted.

Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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