Created By: Old Cowtown Museum
The Livery Stable, located in the Industrial Area of Old Cowtown Museum, represents transportation, communication and economic development in Wichita and Sedgwick County during the 1870s.
The Livery Stable was one of the businesses crucial to transportation and communication in early Wichita. The livery was a commercially operated horse stable that rented and boarded horses, mules and vehicles. People arriving in town on horseback or in a horse drawn rig could board their horse or horse and rig at the stable as long as needed. Animal owners could also buy feed for their animals.
Livery stables rented saddle horses, teams and wagon rigs to people arriving by stage or train and to Wichita’s urban populace. Many people believe that most people in the 1870s owned their own horse and or buggy. The care of a horse requires a building, regular feeding and daily care that few people in town could afford. It was also not inexpensive to board a horse at the livery stable. Most people walked in town. Should they need to travel they could use the stage or rent a mount or carriage.
Livery stables also served as auction houses where the buying and selling of horses and mules, wagons and carriages or any other horse drawn vehicles occurred. Proprietors of livery stables also often served as veterinarians or had a partner who performed medical treatment for the stable’s horses and mules.
** Our livery stable houses a reproduced stage coach of the era. Guests are welcome to get inside and see what mass transit was like. Stages were pulled by 2 or 3 teams that went at a steady gallop over unpaved rough roads with potholes and washouts. Stage stations were place at regular intervals so that horses could be traded out and travelers could stretch their legs. In Wichita it cost .05 a mile for 1st class (sat on the upholstered seats) .04 for 2nd class (a bench placed in the center of the stage with no back support or .03 a mile for 3rd class up on the luggage rack.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Old Cowtown Museum Tour