Jim Miller runs The Miller Carriage and Wagon Museum at his Codorus Township home. Its collection includes long years of collecting wagons, carriages and buggies. Background posts: Is mystery railroad the old Shrewsbury narrow gauge?, Vermont promotes Podunk, but York County has its Sticks and The Acme Tongue Carrier of Hanover, Pa.: Are there any around today?.
York County has long had a love affair with wheels.
As the first county in Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna River, its borders would naturally contain roads pointing to all compass points, crossing and veering off by themselves.
With the roads, came wagons. Farm wagons. Conestoga Wagons.
With increasing affluence, came buggies. And carriages. And coaches
And to produce all these wheeled conveyances, came wagon makers – large and small.
And then automakers.
Jim Miller who name is given to Codorus Township’s The Miller Carriage and Wagon Museum has been collecting wagons and buggies and carriages for years… .
This spring wagon on display that was used by a Manheim Township farmer to haul milk and eggs to a produce station in Brodbecks. The museum, near Glenville, is open by appointment. For details, call 717-235-3673. Admission is free. Donations accepted.
Much of his collected comes from around his area of southcentral and southwestern York County.
And all his conveyances are not wheeled.
He has horse-drawn sleighs on display, too.
A story from the York Daily Record/Sunday News (12/19/08) tells more about the sleighs and wheeled devices:
“One, from the 1890s, is the same model seen in old Currier and Ives Christmas pictures. Sleighs weren’t just for holiday joy rides then, he said.
They were a means of getting around in the snow. One model is a wagon that converts into a sleigh. It has a set of runners and four removable wheels.
He has old plows and farm equipment, showing the methods that were once the norm but are now replaced by the engine.
The downstairs has an array of buggies and carriages from every era.
He has a rare carriage from the 1920s. It looks like the predecessor to the car, with an enclosed carriage, door locks, lantern headlights and pull-down windows. The only significant difference is a seat for a carriage driver instead of an internal-combustion engine up front.
And, like today’s cars, different financial demographics could afford different carriages. He has the luxury ride of a doctor, and the small-but-reliable flat-bottom runabout and an early version of the dump truck — a wagon that dumped gravel from the bottom with the pull of a lever — that was used to construct routes 116 and 516.
It’s a collection showing a slice of life from another era, before steel and gasoline replaced wood, iron, wagon-wheels and harnesses.
The museum is open by appointments and usually during the week. Saturdays, he spends at auctions.
“That’s a day where I like to go to church, take my wife out to dinner and take a nap,” he said.
The museum is on his land, and also occupying his property is the one-room schoolhouse he attended for eight years.
The school in itself is a museum, featuring a gallery of desks from different eras and a collection of antiquities from the times spanning his life, and more.