Can you imagine going for a snow-day outing in this??

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CAA member Greg Cuffey sent the two images you see here, and this story:

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Almost two millennia have passed since the Queen of Egypt sailed on her ornate barge down the Nile. One might ask what this has to do with New England folklore? Well, George Crowninshield, of Salem, Massachusetts, built the first American ocean-going pleasure yacht in 1816 and named it Cleopatra’s Barge. This brightly painted and ornamented vessel was meant to be seen. In 1845, Boston carriage builders Niles and Ward Co. were inspired to construct an unusual sleigh from a ship’s long boat, adding sturdy runners and a large swan’s neck to the bow so the driver would stand high above eight horses. Boston’s largest, most impressive sleigh was also christened Cleopatra’s Barge.

The sleigh’s seats were profusely lined with fur to keep the forty or so passengers warm. When the snow piled up on Boston streets, sleighing proved to be a popular pastime, and this stylish sleigh was the one to be seen in. Sleighing excursions, like the one seen in this 1856 engraving, proved lucrative to inner-city stables.

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Some think that Boston composer James Pierpont may have been inspired to write Jingle Bells after seeing and hearing the eight spirited horses jingling their bells ahead of the Barge as it traversed the city streets.

In 1873, long after the Barge was taken out of regular service, it was called out to duty one more time. Redemptorist priest Father Timothy Enright of the Parker Hill Mission needed a vehicle to deliver eighty-four Christmas dinners to the snowed-in Roxbury/South End areas of Boston. Charles Ward offered the Barge and, with the help of a few volunteers, he loaded and delivered the bounty to Father Enright’s poor parishioners. 

After 1888, the sleigh seemed to drift away into the silent night. The sight of this sleigh certainly left lasting impressions on all who saw or rode on it. As late as 1906, folks still reminisced about it in the Boston Herald’s editorial pages. Collectors continue to search for clues to the Cleopatra’s Barge’s final resting place.