Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts

Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts title=
Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts
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By Betsy J. Green

An editorial in the local paper in March 1918 was inspired by the sight of something called a “governess cart” on a side street in Santa Barbara. This vehicle had been popular in Santa Barbara in the good old days (prior to 1900) and was almost nonexistent in 1918. The writer in the paper commented that “it was such a relic of yesteryear, the fat little bathtub of a vehicle, the rotund, stocky pony, the proud little girl driving all by herself.”


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bjgreen Mar 17, 2018 12:51 PM
Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts

Thanks for all the governess cart anecdotes, folks! I had no idea what a governess cart was until I noticed the article in the Santa Barbara newspaper of March 1918. The old papers are always full of surprises. I think everyday history is much more interesting than the stuff in history books in school.

Flicka Mar 17, 2018 09:16 AM
Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts

In the 1960s my friend, Maxi Decker, drove her children in (Montecito) a wicker governess cart. They went grocery shopping, to school, etc. On Sundays they drove to All Saints Church, there was a special tree reserved for tying "Blackie" to.

Flicka Mar 17, 2018 09:12 AM
Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts

The long eared "pony" is a donkey or mule. I don't think it was uncommon for a woman, young or not, to drive a horse and carriage during any era. My grandma was a governess in Montecito prior to her 1910 marriage (at 18 years old). Grams drove a pony to the beach almost every day in a governess cart with 2 children. The cart belonged to the family, as was customary. Nothing unusual about women, young or old (even children), driving a horse or pony.

a-1532241459 Mar 17, 2018 08:47 AM
Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts

The current issue of S.B.County Genealogical Society publication "Ancestors West" has several nostalgic articles with photos. The first is "A Touch of Old Santa Barbara" and is childhood games including paper dolls. The second is "Treasures from the Past in Santa Barbara". This has an iron boot form and a pair of boots. Ancestors West magazine is free and you can pick up a copy at the Genealogical Society Library, 316 Castillo, S.B. Hours open: Tues,Thur,Fri 10am-4pm, Sun 1-4 pm.

TWOSCOOPS Mar 17, 2018 07:22 AM
Way Back When: Nostalgia for Governess Carts

Did a governess have the cart in order to transport the children? "driving all by herself"--would indicate that a young woman driving a horse was unusual.

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