The Little Wagon @ Seth’s Homestead

That day in 2018 that we finally welcomed the public into the 1787 Seth Babb Homestead in Greeneville, TN was very magical to me. It was the culmination of 14 years of work that brought people from far and wide to help launch the rebirth of the oldest structure in Greeneville, TN. It is also amongst the dozen oldest structures in all of Tennessee, predating the state itself and the Constitution of the United States.

Having lived for quite a few years now, I’ve seen projects rise and fall. I’ve seen, despite my best efforts, the utter destruction of historic buildings that I loved dearly. But this building was different from the onset. I saw the pain in the eyes of the locals that wished they could do something to rescue it from the clutches of Mother Nature.

From the moment I first saw it in 2004, I knew that we had to do something. Those were in fact my words to Hugh Babb that night as the reunion came to a close.

I don’t know that in the course of my lifetime that I’ll ever have a greater high than to bring this structure that was near collapse and resuscitate it into a vibrant tourist destination that gathers 50,000 visitors annually.

The day before the grand re-opening, Babbs came from far and wide carrying items that they had rescued from the Homestead when it fell to the Auction Block in the 1970s.

Some incredible things were donated to the museum that weekend. Sadly, one that didn’t really get the attention it deserved was a little wagon, that for some unknown reason wasn’t red. It was in bad need of repair and could not stand on its own. We placed it on the second floor and most never laid eyes on it.

In my frenzy I neglected to get good pictures of it but as I was on Facebook Live, I made two promises. One was that we were going to create a proper railing so that it wasn’t so treacherous to get up and down the stairs. That was recently accomplished, which takes me to my second promise, which was to fix this little wagon.

Fortunately, Facebook doesn’t delete Facebook Live videos and I was able to refer back to it.

I was able to do 4 screen captures to show what needed to be fixed on the wagon. Since I pulled this from video, I don’t have a good picture of everything that was inside the wagon, so I can’t tell if any of the parts mentioned below are still with it.

Needed Repair Work

  • It reveals that 7 spokes are missing and need to be recreated. There is a possibility that the wood trim that goes just inside the metal rim may need to be replaced due to wear. I’m unsure of whether it is intact and ready to resume functionality.
  • Additionally, we need to reattach the Tongue to the Yolk of the Wagon. It looks as though we are missing a couple of pieces of metal that would be used for this purpose.

Next Steps

I’ve asked Canjoe to recreate the missing spokes and locate the appropriate hardware to complete the reassembly. Canjoe still has some daubing to do upstairs and will take the wagon to the Museum on his next visit in order to protect it from the squirrels.

More information

Picture of a Wagon Wheel that is in working condition

The broken Wagon Wheel. Seven of the eight Spokes appear to be missing. The metal rim is present and the strip of wood inside it is present also. But its condition is unverified.

The Hitch

Regarding the Hitch is present and the mount appears to be in good shape. The hardware to connect it to the yolk does not appear to be present (Next two photos).

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