The haunted history of Osceola County has creaked into the artifact collection at OCHS. The antique funeral coach, shrouded in mystery, was donated to the Osceola County Historical Society by Osceola Memory Gardens in 2015. Although the origin of the coach is unknown, it is suspected to have been manufactured in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts circa 1890. However, the only shocking part of this tale is that the horse-drawn funeral hearse has remained in excellent condition, complete with full seat cushions, seat drops, curtains, hitch, and coffin.
An official appraisal suggests that the coach may have been manufactured by Cunningham Coach, based in Rochester, New York or George Brownell, who hailed from Bristol County, Massachusetts. Both were award winning manufacturers, known for creating fine carriages of the highest grade. The rise of petrol-driven hearses, circa 1909 in the United States, brought about the decline of horse-drawn hearses.
This Victorian horse-drawn funeral hearse made its first public appearance at the annual fundraiser in March of this year, and will continue to be used in programming throughout the year to bring the stories of those passed back to life.
We are grateful to Osceola Memory Gardensfor this generous gift and for partnering in preserving the rich history of Osceola County.