A Horse-Drawn Hearse--The Tradition Survives in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Trolley Works and 76 Carriage Company offers a variety of horse-drawn services to the public.  Their primary business is carriage tours of Independence Mall.  They also provide carriages for weddings and other special events, and an authentic, antique hearse for funeral processions.

 
The fully restored, 1898 hearse was built by Rock Falls Manufacturing Company, an Illinois company that operated in one form or another from the 1860's to the 1920's.  You can click here, to see an undated black and white photograph of the same model.  The National Museum of Funeral History may also feature a Rock Falls hearse in its collection.  One of the same models appears to have been in use in Iowa until 2001.  On this occasion, the hearse was transporting Mrs. Esther Rodgers on her final journey.  It was pulled by a two-horse team (Teddy is on the left and Dick A.K.A. Noodles is on the right) driven by Elaine McDonald and escorted by Dario Mogus and Nancy Mola, trailing the hearse, serving in the capacity of what is colorfully referred to as the "coffin catcher" is Tony House.  All are employees of 76.  The procession started at the Yesha Community Worship Center and proceeded down Snyder Avenue.
 
The hearse should be booked as far in advance as is possible.  Call Eleanor at 215 923-8516 for details.
 
Here is a short video of the procession.
 


 

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