Construction begins this summer on building to highlight horse-drawn vehicles at Madrid's Power & Equipment Museum
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 6:12 am

MADRID -- The golden era of horse-drawn vehicles and equipment will be featured in a new building at the St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum.

Construction of the will begin this summer. All winter, trees have been harvested and sawn into great timbers that will be shaped by local craftsmen to support a timberframe building. An estimated 28,000 board-feet of timber will be used in the posts, beams, braces, and rafters.

As you enter the completed building, you will pass by horse stalls and tack rooms. Statues of proud horses dressed in full harness will offer opportunity to see and feel history. Visitors will be able to help tighten cinches and get the animals ready for work. Beyond, you find yourself in the main section of the building where massive posts and beams soar above. From floor to rafters will be buggies, wagons, sleighs, sleds, and implements. Stairs will lead to the deck above the entrance where you will find smaller items and reference works. From the deck you can look out upon the items exhibited in the main hall or look through the front windows at the museum’s grounds.

The museum has grown with the support of its members and friends. In 2009 the family of P.E. Merrill sent a gift of $74,250 to support construction of a building to celebrate working horses, challenging others to contribute as well. The gift was in memory of Merrill who founded the Merrill Transport Company and who loved work horses. Other relatives increased this sum to $90,000. The projected cost of the building is $148,000 leaving $58,000 to be raised. All those wishing to preserve treasures from the era of horses are invited to support and join us in this exciting project. In appreciation to those who send gifts of $50 or more, the museum will send a limited-edition, signed and numbered print of the pen and ink drawing of the building by John Miller III. Each print is on art paper, signed and numbered by the artist.

The Horse-Drawn Equipment Exhibit Building will be a major feature at this living history museum. The museum is on a 115 acre farm site. Beginning with the original farm buildings, the museum has added a 4,000 square foot multi-purpose building, a 2,400 square foot collection exhibit building, a maple sugar house, sawmill, and shoe repair shop. The village green will take shape this summer with the addition of an antebellum one-room schoolhouse and a 1920’s gas station.

In the future, four period farmsteads will be developed including the pioneer farm, a late-1800s horse-powered farm, a post WWI farm with early engines and tractors, and a post WWII farm featuring more recent tractors, electricity, and other “modern” features. The village green will be expanded to include a blacksmith shop, print shop, church, and other vintage buildings.

The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum is a 501(c)(3), education corporation, provisionally chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York. The museum, with its more than 750 members, is operated entirely by member volunteers. Its mission is to preserve the history of how people in the North Country of New York lived and how new technologies helped shape their lives.

Membership in the museum is open to those interested in preserving the history of the North Country. Dues are only $15 per year with spouses of members free. Dues for those under 18 are $5. To contact the museum call 347-2362; write to SLPEM, PO Box 400, Madrid, NY 13660; go to; or email [email protected].