Who is that mysterious, elegant man? And why is he sitting on a dead horse? Such are some of the questions sparked by a black-and-white photograph taken in Sheboygan, Wisconsin between 1876 and 1884
A vintage Sheboygan photo, taken before the turn of the 20th century, has sparked some conversation in the community since its inclusion in The Sheboygan Press' 2007 calendar.
The photo, which is inside the calendar's front cover, shows a scene at Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue, looking north toward the Eighth Street bridge.
In the photo, a dead horse lies in the street, roped off with string tied to stakes in the dirt road. A man in a top hat, bow tie and jacket sits on top of the horse, and people in the background are standing still, looking toward the camera.
"I always just assumed it was taken as a joke or something like that," said Bill Wangemann, Sheboygan city historian. "I was never able to find out anything about it. What the story behind that (picture) is, I don't have the foggiest notion."
About all that's known about the picture is it was taken at South Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue in Sheboygan between 1876 and 1884 -- based on the presence of a bridge over the Sheboygan River in the background and the absence of the railroad tracks that were installed in 1884.
A city resident commented: "The city had laws that required people to stay with their dead horses until they were picked up and disposed of."
"Who knows why somebody would take a picture of it?" "People had weird senses of humor then just like they do now."
Why indeed! And, why would Everette post it to a web site? Not sure, just thought it was interesting. Personally, I believe that the gentleman is the father of the bride and his horse keeled over while on the way to the reception. The wedding party continued on, using only the second horse of a two-horse carriage, while the horses' owner waited for the removal of the horse, in accordance with City laws in force at the time. That's the way I see it! Everette