, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 24, 2013

A 'breathtaking' piece of past

Carriage artifacts donated to museum

A living piece of Carriagetown’s history delivered artifacts from the city’s carriage-building past to the Amesbury Carriage Museum this weekend, signifying a historic coup, said the museum’s president.

Fran Koutnik, granddaughter of carriage designer Francis A. Sands, along with her two sons and their families, arrived from Long Island around 4 p.m. on Saturday, meeting Ann Miles, president of the board of directors, at the Water Street building where many of the city’s carriages are stored.

At that meeting, Sands’ ancestors donated draft design drawings for a carriage jump seat, a working vest worn by the carriage designer while in his shop, photos, a copy of a patent and other documents.

“To see the draft, the rough draft of how it was all composed on paper, is breathtaking, it’s absolutely breathtaking. You don’t see that kind of document every day,” Miles said.

The artifacts, along with a carriage, are expected to be part of a display to be arranged inside the Nicholas J. Costello Transportation Building and Senior Center off Elm Street in time for this week’s Amesbury Days celebration.

Born in 1860, Francis A. Sands witnessed the transition from carriages to motorized vehicles, and was forced like hundreds of others who worked in the many factories and shops to seek employment elsewhere as horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles, said Miles.

Miles said the family was shown the museum’s collection of carriages and its own array of hand drawings.

“The family had a really great time,” Miles said. “It was just a really wonderful family reunion.”

Founded in 1986, the Amesbury Carriage Museum Organization promotes the preservation of the city’s historic carriages as well as educating the public regarding the carriage era roughly between 1830 and the early 1900s. Currently, the museum lacks a central location with carriages scattered around town. A few years ago, a historic building was purchased on Water Street to house a permanent museum.

Miles said the Sands donation comes at an exciting time for museum officials who recently organized a strategic plan for the creation of a permanent museum on Water Street.

“This is all coming together now,” Miles said, adding now is the perfect time for residents and those who love carriages to join the museum’s growing number of members.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Special Features