On permanent exhibit in the Stable, is a beautifully restored elegant sleigh once having belonged to many generations of the Alsop family of Middletown, CT. After conveying many generations of Alsop’s through the cold and snowy streets and byways of Middletown, it was eventually replaced by the automobile, and the beautiful ‘booby hut’ sleigh was stored in a barn on their property. When Dr. Leonard Bailey purchased the piece of property, which included the barn and the sleigh he determined to find a home for the relic, which was still in excellent condition. The barn was to store Dr. Bailey’s automobile and once again the sleigh was the victim of progress.
When the Wadsworth Chapter of the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution was offered the sleigh, it was accepted with the intention of donating it to the Ellsworth Homestead, where it was sure to be received as part of their collection. In 1906, the sleigh, which was estimated to be at least 100 years old at the time, was transferred to what was to be its home for the next 102 years. It was housed in an ancient ice house which had been renovated to its new purpose by State Regent Sara Kinney. In 1981-1982 during State Regent Hope Sasportas’ term of office, the sleigh underwent renovation by the Amish at the D & S Buggy Shop in Ohio, and was again proudly displayed at the Ellsworth Homestead.
In November 2008, the sleigh was once again relocated. State Regent Jennie May Rehnberg featured the sleigh in the Veterans Day Parade in Hartford on Nov.2nd and then brought it out to the Wadsworth Stable’s Transportation Exhibit. It can be seen here in the company of other ancient modes of transportation, a horse drawn mail cart from the 1800’s, two ox carts very likely from the 1700’s, a collection of harness and tools from the Colonial Era.
If you have never seen a ‘booby hut’ sleigh, you owe it to yourself to see it. It is on display weekends from May 15 through October 15, and on special occasions through out the year as noted in our calendar of events.