The Honey Wagon

by Bill Newman

In the 1930's most city travel was done by automobiles and other mechanized vehicles, though there was still a good deal of commercial commerce that was conducted by horse and wagon.

Any route that was used by the horses was soon decorated by horse droppings which were unsightly, had a foul odor and were unhealthy for the residents. The main instrument used for removing the droppings was The Honey Wagon. This was a metal vehicle with sides that slanted toward the bed and oddly enough was horse drawn.

Two street cleaners manned the wagon which was driven over the major streets. When a place was seen that needed manure removal the driver would stop the wagon and the other man would jump off. His job was to sweep up the manure and throw it onto The Honey Wagon.

The wagon did not have to be on duty too long before its presence could be detected when it was several blocks away. In the summer people would make some effort evade a Honey Wagon.

When the Wagon was full it was taken to the city stable on Orange St. for removal of its contents. I never knew what final disposition was made and never made any effort to find out.

In addition to horse drawn Honey Wagons there was a a large hollow drum mounted on two wheels that was pushed by a street cleaner. He followed the same procedure of walking along a route and picking up whatever horse droppings he found. I don't know what disposition was made of the collection, though I presume he met The Honey Wagon at some prearranged place and made a transfer.

On less traveled streets that were not patrolled by a Honey Wagon, manure was left till it eventually dried up and was washed away by a rain. While waiting for this to happen pedestrians had to be alert when crossing a street and young boys had to be careful when picking out a spot for a box ball game.


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