What the heck is a Livery, anyway?

We've received this question enough times that we figure it warrants a page on the website. The answer will connect you back to the Old West, and we always love to do that!

To understand what a Livery is, you have to travel back in time to the nineteenth century, back when horses still ruled the roads and the West was still wild. That's far enough for us, although the term goes back at least as far as Medieval England.

In terms of life in the Old West, Liveries were short-term boarding stables that boarded horses belonging to people visiting the town. You can either think of it as a Wild West parking garage or as a hotel for four-legged visitors to town. With the advent of the horseless carriage, the business of short-term boarding declined. Few of the original Liveries are still in operation.

Many Western films feature Liveries rather prominently as locations for spreading gossip too volatile to spread in the bars or other fine establishments. Enthusiasts will note such films as Open Range, Firecreek, and The Quick and the Dead. There are countless others.

Wickenburg had two Livery stables at varying times. Our current location served as a Livery in the late 1890s into the early 1900s. Another Livery, the Big Corral, was later put up closer to the Sols Wash. It was torn down several years ago.

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