The Secret History Behind These Mysterious Street Fixtures

Source: Wikimedia

Strolling along the stone paved roads of New Orleans one can easily picture the carriage rolling on the stone paved roads with people chattering around. While I was taking in the design of the wrought iron balconies and the plants climbing the walls of the buildings, I noticed a rather old structure that looked like a horse’s hitching post with a worn horse’s head. It was a moment, that made me remember my childhood and the stories of the great adventures and the calm and quiet life.

To the many people, the sight of a hitching post would make them think of the cowboy movies or what their grandparents explained to them about the days when cars were not the most common form of transport. These posts were quite decorative and robust; they became significant structures in cities such as New Orleans in the 19th and early 20th century. They served a practical purpose: as a service of affording a place to tether horses while people engaged in commerce in the cities.

Hitching posts were not only useful structures; they represented a society’s link to the cycle of the day. Each post describes a time when horses were the main source of transport and you could hear the clopping of hooves as you hear the beeping of cars today.

Source: A Focus On Florida

During their prime, the hitching posts depicted the society and the economy of the period in question. They were located throughout the city; near residences, shops, and other establishments, indicative of areas of work and trade. In the late 1800s, a child would have found it exciting to watch horses being tied up at these posts just as a child today would get excited watching a car pull up at the curb.

These posts were quite diverse in their design ranging from the basic wooden stakes to the superior cast iron structures. Hitching posts in New Orleans are also decorated with designs, and the most famous of them are the horse’s heads; this gave the posts a certain aestheticism while serving its purpose. These designs also and sometimes copied the architectural style of the city and its decorations which include the use of iron works in many buildings.

Current, these hitching posts remain as silent witnesses of the history and a way for people to be connected with the past. They make us recall a period when things were not as fast-paced as they are today and the process of getting from point A to B was as enjoyable as the arrival. New Orleans would not be same without their existence; they not only contribute to the safeguard of the city’s history but also enhance its attractiveness to tourists who are captivated by the elegance of traditional architecture.

Source: Eve Anderson

While in New Orleans, you should spare some time to look at these historical signs as you are walking in the streets. One can only try to picture all the fingers that fastened reins to these very posts, all the discussions held by their side and all the life that surrounded these rather simple yet essential pieces of architecture. In this fast paced society, it is rather nice to take a moment, and think about the good old times and one such symbol that represents the ‘good old days’ is the hitching post.

Through the preservation of these artifacts and telling of their history, the essence of the past is maintained, and the world’s current state and the enduring beauty of history are highlighted.