space; however, in this case, the owner lived in a house with his wife and large family on Hamilton Street on the same lot. 7 A survey of the 1894 Sanborn map provides us with a useful look at the physical and economic position of the neighborhood when John Weiher built his stable there four years later. 8 Volume 1 of the Sanborn map encompasses much of downtown and northeastern Milwaukee, and shows clearly that there were many livery stables in residential areas.
The lot that would hold Weiher’s stable four years later is surrounded by one and two story dwellings and buildings labeled by the surveyors simply as “shanties.” The number of livery stables listed in the 1894 Milwaukee city directory is 65, whereas the Sanborn maps for this area alone show at least 25 buildings designated specifically as livery stables. 9 This suggests that the city directory lists only a fraction of the actual amount of stables that existed in Milwaukee at that time.
Over half of the buildings designated as livery stables in the Sanborn map are in residential areas.
Ones that are in commercial areas tend to be larger establishments and often directly abutted other businesses.
Stables in general were a particular fire hazard and were thus documented quite thoroughly by the Sanborn surveyors, who noted each stable with an “x” through the structure.
However, only a handful of the stables marked on the maps are liveries.
The vast majority of stables were privately owned, and could have been used for other animals such as cows, pigs and chickens.
Horses were very expensive, both to buy and to maintain, so it is probable that only a fraction of these privately owned buildings held horses.
It is not clear from the Sanborn map 7 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlas of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sheet 42; United States Federal Census, Ward 18, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 6A. 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlas of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sheets 1-103.
Ibid, and Business Section (unpaginated) Wrights City Directory of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 8 9 4 which stables housed horses, and if they did whether the owner used this horse for his work.
Men who worked as cabbies often owned one horse and a carriage or cart and operated their business outside of their home.
It is difficult to define a typology for urban stables, but some evidence from historical photographs and plan books show that Weiher’s building shared many features with other commercial livery stables.
Exterior photographs of the Sheboygan Livery stable from 1892 (Fig. 6) and the Beaumont livery stable in Colorado from 1920 (Fig. 7) show several features similar to the front façade of the Pulaski building.
There is an office entrance to the side of the main stable or carriage entrance, and a large set of doors on the second level with a pulley to raise hay into the hayloft.
Plans from Radford’s Book of Practical Barn Plans published in 1909 suggest some common floor plans, although a tri-level design like the stable on Pulaski is not included. 10 Some larger stables placed horses on the second floor, although this was a particularly dangerous place for horses in the event of a fire. 11 In the “Neat Barn for Horses” plan (Fig. 8), the authors have included a man’s room on both the first and second floor.
A ramp is shown on the side to pull carriages into the building. 12 The plan also includes a manure door at the back of the building off of the two stalls, which the author notes as a particularly desirable feature. “The stalls may be cleaned and the manure thrown out the back as far away as possible from the carriage entrance and from the side entrance…” 13 10 11 W.
Radford, Radford’s Practical Barn Plan (Chicago: 1909). C.
McShane and J.
Tarr, The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the Nineteenth Century. (Baltimore: 2007): 109. 12 13 Radford, Practical Barns, 207 Ibid 5 Evidence of a tack room in the basement, or other storage space is no longer extant in the Pulaski building, but it is probable that some space of this sort existed while the building functioned as a stable. “Small Barn for a Village Lot” in Radford’s includes a large storage space next to the stalls (Fig. 9). 14 Other plans include a harness room and various other more specialized storage spaces.
The room next to the front office on the main level may also have served as storage for carriage and horse supplies but this is not for certain.
The office area at the front is a feature that is not repeated in Radford’s plans, although it seems to be suggested in the photographs as noted above.
This raises questions about what actually went on in a livery stable like Pulaski, and the issue of public access.
The separation of space in the stable served several purposes, one of which was sanitation and aesthetics.
Separating the horses and their waste from the front office and the eyes and nostrils of potential or repeat clients is common sense, but it remains unclear whether the customer or patron would be the one approaching the building.
In other words, was it the wealthy patron who entered the office, or his servant? Or did the business send its own men out? Either way, John Weiher went to great lengths to ensure the separation of space in his building from product and from patron, and perhaps from himself.
The back of Weiher’s house looked onto the west side of the Pulaski building, easily accessible and visible to the owner.
He lived in the house on Hamilton Street with his wife Anastasia and their six children.
Both John and Anastasia were born in Germany.
They had come to America in 1865 and 1869 respectively and were married in 1887.
All of their children were born in Wisconsin and appear to have been well educated, with all but the two youngest being able to read and write English.
Neither the mother nor the children are listed with any 14 — Office Figure 2: First floor plan, 1729 Pulaski (drawing: author) 16 Stable Figure 3: Basement Level, 1729 Pulaski (drawing: author) Hayloft Man’s Room Figure 4: 2nd level, 1729 Pulaski (drawing: author) 17 Fig. 5: Horse entrance to basement level (photo: author) Fig. 6: Sheboygan Livery Stable, 1892, (photo: Wisconsin Historical Images 40882). 18 Figure 7: Beaumont Livery Stable, 1920, (photo: Wisconsin History Images 9944).
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