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Horsing Around Buffalo: Long Live The King! | People

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Horsing Around Buffalo: Long Live The King!
Horsing Around Buffalo: Long Live The King!

  Forty five years ago this summer (1901), all Buffalo was discussing the latest innovation in family carriages with the same zest the exploits of Bob Feller and Ted Williams now receive. For Buffalo was crazy for horses both before and after the turn of the century. Every home of any size had its stable in the rear.

  Even today, the old guard in dozens of Western New York stables are making preparations for the fall horse shows, county fairs and harness meets in the old tradition. As they shine their gear in preparation for the big days ahead their talk sometimes turns to the old days when Delaware, Linwood and Richmond Avenues were the show places of the equine world. They remember stables maintained by Seymore H. Knox Sr., the Cary Family, Frank A. Babcock and hundreds of others in all stages of wealth and affluence. Perhaps some speak once in a while of Mambrino King, the "handsomest horse in the world".

  The King was owned by Cicero Jabez Hamlin, grandfather of Chauncey J. Hamlin, president of the Buffalo Museum of Science.  On May 1, 1855 Mr. Hamlin founded the Village Farm in East Aurora.  As the years progressed the farm became famed as the world's greatest trotting nursery, breeding more world's champions than any other single farm in either hemisphere. The Hamlin Stock Farm became famous the world over as the home of Mambrino King, Chimes, Almont, Junior, and of the beautiful recordbreaking Belle Hamlin. Mr. Hamlin dearly loved his horses and never drove a poor one. He did a great deal to improve the quality of stock in Western New York and in the country at large. In 1868, with others, he bought the ground which has ever since been the home of the Buffalo Driving Park.

  Mambrino King was the farm's Museum piece. In 1882 Cicero Hamlin bought the 10-year old for $25,000, and because of his appearance he was much used as a show horse. Two years later, the King had attracted no less than 16,000 visitors who went "all the way to East Aurora" just to see him. Mambrino King was led in and out of his stall 170 times in one weekend so that he could be admired by horse lovers. This apparently was exercise for both the King and his grooms. The horse was a magnificent chestnut, sixteen and a half hands high and pronounced by French officers, who made a visit expressly to see him, "the handsomest horse in the world," In his lifetime, he attracted over 30,000 visitors to East Aurora.... Mambrino King Story continues in the Buffalo History Gazette(click here)

  All the racing didn't take part on formal tracks. One old Buffalo resident recalls that on cold winter afternoons, "stern faced men" invaded Delaware Ave. They drove fast horses hitched to light sleighs and staged races to decide tavern wagers. The races continued until the lamp-lighters appeared, hurrying from gas light to gaslight with their long wands. As the shades were pulled down and the candles and gas mantels were lighted in the homes along the avenue in preparation for the evening meal, the racers disappeared, only to come back the next day.

The Establishment of a New Boulevard Route Between Buffalo and Niagara Falls - The last Sunday in May (1895) will go down in history as the date of the informal opening of a coach route between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The establishment of such a route is due to the coaching propensities of Mr. Seward Carey, one of the best whips in the country....Horse Stories Continue in the Buffalo History Gazette(click here)

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