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A Coaching Party: 1904

Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1904. "A Coaching Party (four-horse team with coach on Boulevard Drive)." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.

Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1904. "A Coaching Party (four-horse team with coach on Boulevard Drive)." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.


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Gilded Age Hobby

Here's an interesting article about Coaching Four-In-Hand that features this very photo

The coachman

Probably has a sticker on the back stating "My other coach is a hearse."

Go big or go home

If we're betting on Most Interesting Coach Rider (we were, weren't we?), my money is on the lady in the middle, with the great big hat which partially eclipses the face of the gent behind her. She looks like a force to be reckoned with.

What Me Worry?

This thoroughly alarming photo dates from the period that ushered in the automobile -- which many folks felt would never replace the horse because automobiles were dangerous.

Gone and forgotten

American coaching -- with its mixture of Anglophilia, money, fashion, public class assertiveness, and of course horsiness -- had a swift, symbolic and ironic ending. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, most conspicuous of the practitioners, went down in the 1915 torpedoing of the Lusitania. Just ten weeks later, almost all his horses were sold at auction, along with at least seven coaches.

It's Duluth ...

They wear coats in the summertime.

Raise your hand if you're having fun!

Yeah, didn't think so.

From the White House to white horses

"Boulevard Drive" was credited to (or blamed on) President Rutherford B. Hayes's personal secretary, William K. Rogers. A friendship between Hayes and Rogers dating back to college days at Kenyon led the pair, by election and appointment, to the White House. Before and after Hayes' single term as President, Rogers lived and worked in "the Zenith City" (Duluth), among other places. When not rendered prostrate by illness, Rogers carried out an ambitious plan to create a parkway along the ridge overlooking downtown Duluth and Lake Superior. For this, Boulevard Drive was eventually named Rogers Boulevard. Yet not all liked his approach. Following his death, the Duluth News Tribune complained: "When they gave him a dollar he spent ten. When he was authorized to acquire a foot he took an acre. He drove his boulevard across city property if could get it and slapped it across private property if he couldn’t." That quote is part of a colorful account of Rogers' life found at

Leaf Lookers

Riding in a carriage in 1904 would not be much of a novelty. Yet there are 12 people stuffed onto this one. My guess, this was an outing in autumn to look at turning leaves. Men are wearing coats which suggests either spring or fall, but ground foliage is already thick, which rules out spring. If that is a lilac bush to the right, then this was a scenic ride through a horticultural garden or somebody's estate.

[Like the caption says, they're riding along Boulevard Drive. - Dave]

Then and Now

Then: A wonderful time with friends.
Now: An attorney's dream waiting to happen.

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