RAYMOND — The Northwest Carriage Museum recently added its 53rd horse-drawn vehicle, a 1901 kerosene wagon.

This evocative piece of history once delivered kerosene to rural residents in Iowa around the beginning of the 20th century. It was pulled by a single horse and each day traveled 12 to 15 miles on various delivery routes.

“Back then, there were no gas stations. Instead, there were storage stations throughout the country where tanker wagons picked up fuel and then proceeded to deliver it to customers,” museum Curator Jerry Bowman said. “Standard Oil had over 3,000 stations by 1900 and almost 3,600 by 1906. Tank wagons varied in size from 300 to 900 gallons and transported kerosene, gasoline and fuel oil.”

This addition to the museum has an interesting story. The museum acquired a much larger tank wagon from Minnesota two years ago and it was set for the start of a full restoration. A wagon collector in Oklahoma contacted Bowman in December and said he had a smaller tank wagon available that was already fully restored. After many conversations, Bowman and the collector agreed to trade wagons plus a few other items.

“I am thrilled for many reasons,” Bowman said. “First, this smaller wagon is a much better fit for our museum and only requires some minor upkeep. Second, it would have been a two-year project to restore the larger wagon. And finally, this leaves me time to work on the three other historic vehicles currently in my shop.”

The Northwest Carriage Museum is recognized across the country for its historic collection of horse drawn vehicles. The tradition of “Keeping History Alive” is only enhanced with this fine addition.

The carriage museum is open daily all year from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is North Pacific County’s largest tourist attraction. Visit www.nwcarriagemuseum.org or by call 360-942-4150.

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