Posted December 15, 2006 in the Sheboygan Press.
Vintage photo of dead horse raises questions
By Janet Ortegon
Sheboygan Press staff
First of all, what's the deal with the top hat?
A vintage Sheboygan photo, taken before the turn of the 20th century, has sparked some conversation in the community since its inclusion in The Sheboygan Press' 2007 calendar.
The photo, which is inside the calendar's front cover, shows a scene at Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue, looking north toward the Eighth Street bridge.
In the photo, a dead horse lies in the street, roped off with string tied to stakes in the dirt road. A man in a top hat, bow tie and jacket sits on top of the horse, and people in the background are standing still, looking toward the camera.
"I always just assumed it was taken as a joke or something like that," said Bill Wangemann, Sheboygan city historian. "I was never able to find out anything about it. What the story behind that (picture) is, I don't have the foggiest notion."
Past attempts by reporters at The Sheboygan Press to find out the circumstances of the photo were unsuccessful, and even local experts at the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center came up empty-handed when they looked for information.
A print of the photo was submitted to the Historical Research Center several years ago, said Kathy Jeske, but there was very little information attached.
"I don't think we have any idea," Jeske said. "There's no name on it, nothing."
The photo does say, on the back, that it was taken at Eighth Street and Indiana Avenue, and that it's of a man sitting on a dead horse.
That last part might be redundant, but the photo clearly shows the entry to the Eighth Street Bridge and what is probably the Evergreen City Hotel and Saloon on the northeast corner of the intersection, near where the C. Reiss Coal building is now.
In the background is a brick and lime business and other unidentified buildings on the banks of the Sheboygan River.
Wangemann said he guesses the photo was taken between 1890 and 1900, judging by how the men are dressed and the dirt street.
Roger Prescher, 73, owner of the Charcoal Inn South, liked the photo so much he hung a framed copy in his restaurant several years ago, along with other photos of historic Sheboygan.
"We just wanted a little nostalgia," Prescher said. "I think it's kind of funny."
If anyone knows anything about the origin of the photo or has information about the scene, contact Janet Ortegon at 453-5121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the photo:
If you look very closely at the enlarged closeup below, you can see the vague similarities between me and the man whom I firmly believe is my great- great- great-grandfather, Beatadeadhorse Irrelephant.