Yes, it’s a Studebaker

antique Studebaker wagon

This Studebaker wagon is the current star of the show at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Admission is free and you can see many more historic artifacts including a Civil War battle flag, Victorian furniture, a miniature cotton gin and a lot more

Yes it is a Studebaker. The Studebaker Brothers started making wagons in 1852. Ninety-eight years later, the company, still Studebaker after several permutations, thrust the bullet-nosed sedan for which they are most famous, on the American public. The car is an icon of the fifties, but the subject of our discourse is the Studebaker wagon.

Allegedly one Studebaker brother, a promoter, told his brother, a wagon wright, “I’ll sell all the wagons you can make.” Though the quip sounds good, I can find no historic basis that such an exchange ever occurred between Studebaker brothers.

Studebaker wagon wheel

Click the wheel to see more wagon pictures

This particular Studebaker was made around 1900 and is on display at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It is for the most part vintage and virtually the same product they produced that became the most widely used wagon used by gold-hungry settlers headed west during the California Gold Rush of the mid 19th century. See more pictures of the wagon and other museum exhibits on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here while you look.

front of Studebaker wagon

Here’s a second look at the wagon. The quilt on the wagon seat was made with dress scraps and hand-carded cotton. It has been gently used since around 1900. The girl on the swing in the background is “Little Miss Holsum,” a billboard icon in Pine Bluff.

early 20th century rural kitchen items

Just around the corner from the Studebaker wagon, you’ll find this turn-of-the-century rural kitchen exhibit which includes what appears to be an “apartment-size” wood cook stove. For the uninitiated, the upside-down thingy with a stick out the top, in front of the stove is a churn. For the further uninitiated, one made butter with the churn. There are more than a dozen or so other interesting artifacts from kitchens of the era there to see as well. I have absolutely no clue as to the long-handled broom. An airbus for witches maybe?

Antique hunting equipment display

This hunting and trapping display includes a long Kentucky-style muzzle-loading rifle and some accessories necessary to fire it and keep it maintained. There’s also a deer skin and a beaver pelt along with other trapping and hunting accoutrements including a bear trap from Hades. Notice the super-neat original hexagonal floor tiles.

One-man cotton gin

This is a “one-man” cotton gin. The object with the red flywheel beneath the gin is a one cylinder water-cooled gasoline engine of the type which might have been used to power the gin. This particular engine was used to pump water for a rural Jefferson County family back in the day. See another picture of the gin on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com.

antique wood working tools display

This two-sided display shows a nice assortment of wood working tools including a giant wood clamp which appears to be in the hernia-class just to pick it up.

The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum

Here’s a glimpse of the former Missouri-Pacific Depot which houses the museum. You can see one of a two-track arrangement which are part of the main east-west system of Union Pacific. You can feel the rumble when the trains come through.

Thanks for visiting our pages and looking at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Museum. If you are close enough to visit, the museum is now open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. If you are not close enough to visit, we wish you were.

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

A U T H O R ‘ S   N O T E :   Though I am a member of the board of directors of the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum, I personally am completely responsible for content of this article. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent policies or opinions of the institution, management, or the board of directors, Jefferson County, Arkansas and/or the City of Pine Bluff.
Joe Dempsey


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