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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

MARION SULKY MAKER REMAINS IN BUSINESS
May 31, 1984


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PIX #1 - This two-seater buggy was made by Guy Kehrwecker for Clark Gable.

PIX #2 - This residence on Eighth Street in Upper Sandusky, once the resi- dence of the George Beery family, is now the town's museum.

PIX #3 - Guy Kehrwecker

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: Today's column is again made up of Reader Feedback from the recent series about the CHV&T Railroad. There's still more to come next week from an accumulation. Hope you enjoy!)

The April 26 Potluck about the CHV&T train trip to Marion and Prospect brought an interesting response and more information from McMurray & Fisher Sulky Co.

Charles E. "Chuck" Williams, 1112 Stoner Rd., suggested I see his wife, Esther, since her father, Guy Kehrwecker, worked for Houghton & McMurray Co., a successor to the original company.

Following his suggestion I eventually visited Kehrwecker, now a resident at Edgewood Manor Nursing Home. I later telephoned Houghton Sulky Co. to verify if the company is still in operation.

It is always interesting and heartening to learn that a company starting back in the 1800's is still making the same products even though the name has been changed several times.

STARTED AT SULKY FACTORY IN 1943

When Kehrwecker started to work at the buggy and sulky factory in 1943, the original name had already become Houghton & McMurra. Prior to that he worked at Huber Manufacturing Co., makers of traction engines and threshing ma- chines, another Marion company named and illustrated in the April 26 article.

In my telephone conversation with Mark Bauer at Houghton Sulky I learned that they are still very active in producing all of the items they ever made. These include harness buggies, vicerois, top buggies, showcarts, wood wheel carts and training carts...the complete sulky line.

Unlike the mass-produced products in many factories today, Houghton's pro- ducts take days to make with skilled labor, just as they did many years ago. A variety of woods are used including oak, poplar, ash and hickory. All of these require cutting, shaping, planing and assembly. A blacksmith shop is also required for preparing metal parts. Then there is final finishing in the paint shop.

Houghton is still at 185 N. State St. where it has been for many years. Kehrwecker told me that one day he was out in front of the factory when an elderly man with a walking cane came along. He told Kehrwecker that he went to Sunday school and church in the building when he was a boy. It was a Methodist church then, built for that purpose, with thick stone walls.

MADE BUGGY FOR CLARK GABLE

Kehrwecker retired from the sulky business in 1964, but later they asked him if he would come back and work 2-3 hours a day on a very special order for a two-seater show buggy, shown in the accompanying photo. He went back to work.

Who do you think the buggy was for? It was made for Clark Gable, the movie actor. It was the last buggy Kehrwecker worked on.

They still remember Kehrwecker at Houghton Sulky, I was told in my telephone conversation with Mark Bauer.

The next time you go to the county or state fair and watch the horse races, you may think about the sulkies being made in Marion.

ARTICLE BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES

When I put together the third article about Marion and Prospect along the railroad, I didn't remember that Bob Baumgartner once lived in Prospect. When he asked what I had been writing about lately. I showed the visitors the railroad articles. Boy became enthused to see the pictures and read a- bout the railroad. He had worked for the railroad for 41 years. He was born in Prospect and had spent his early life there.

Photos of theUnion Milling Co. and Miller Jones Co. were shown in that arti- cle. Bob remembered both of them. He said both mills were adjacent to the CHV&T tracks, one on each side.

The Remembrancer, from whichdata was extracted for the articles, showed the school house in Prospect where Bob received his early education. Later a new school was built beside the old one where he finished.

Bob's father ran a milk route in Prospect and also worked at the Army Depot in Marion. He said the family home still stands in Prospect. His father is deceased and his mother resides in a Delaware nursing home. Bob has fond memories of his early lifethere.

BOB WORKED ALL C&O RR LINE

I knew Bob had worked for the C&O Railroad but I didn't know where he had been stationed. When I asked it turned out to be almost everywhere north of Columbus: Powell, Hyatts, Powell, Carey, Delaware, Marion, Upper Sandusky, Harpster, Morral, Fostoria, Risingsun, Pemberville, Bradner and the Millard Avenue docks in Toledo.

The Baumgartners were also interested in the second article about Upper Sandusky. Noticing a photo in The Remembrancer of the Beery residence they said it is now that town's museum having been donated by the descendants of that family. It is located on Eighth Street. George W. Beery was the treasurer for the Company, one of Upper Sandusky's thriving factories back then. It was shown and mentioned in the article.

Since the old Beery house is identified in this article it is also illus- trated with the photo from The Remembrancer.

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