The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — The wagon shed at the Union County Historical Society’s Dale/Engle/Walker farm has just seen the return of a pristine 19th century vehicle made by John S. Heimbach in New Berlin in the 1860s. The Heimbach vehicle had been on display at the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum for several decades, having been restored by Isaac Reiff, of Vicksburg, in the 1980s.
Gary Spangler, who manages the Society’s collection of early farm implements and vehicles, has overseen the return to the collection of this especially rare New Berlin vehicle called a “run about.” It is a particularly handsome and sporty affair. A couple of years ago he welcomed an equally rare vehicle — a sleigh made by New Columbia buggy maker, William Blind. While Mifflinburg is primarily thought of when talking about Union County vehicles, other communities in the county, like New Columbia and Lewisburg, produced them as well.
In New Berlin, buggies were made at the corner of Market and Union streets from 1843-1870 by Josiah Schweinhart (1815-1887) and John S. Heimbach (1824-1870). Schweinhart announced his business’ opening on June 1843 in The New Berlin Union Times. He made buggies, sulkies, and barouches and had an attached blacksmith shop. Schweinhart obtained the patent for a new single-tree and locking apparatus designed, he said, for vehicle safety.
John Heimbach occupied the former Schweinhart shop until as late as 1870. These and other early vehicles, farm equipment and tools can be seen in the Dale/Engle/Walker Wagon Shed during Sunday afternoon house tours (now through October) and at Rural Heritage Days Aug. 14-17.
For more information, contact the historical society at (570) 524-8666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.