The Great New England Sleigh

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For Americans of all ages who are disappointed by today’s mild winters, when a fall of snow turns to slush overnight or is shunted aside by the relentless plow, here is Roxbury, Massachusetts, a century ago, just after a “regular built, old fashioned snow storm.” Past the Norfolk House ( right ) sweeps the great New England sleigh Cleopatra’s Barge . It was named after the first American seagoing yacht, built by George Crowninshield of Salem. Its warmly bundled cargo is pulled by eight spirited grays, their reins in the hands of an accomplished “whip.” “Not for years have we had such a plethora of snow as during the present season,” wrote the editor of Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion , which published this engraving in 1856, “and never did more persons avail themselves of the pleasure of sleighing … on every pleasant day, for weeks, all the roads have been thronged with gay parties, all the hotels in the vicinity crowded with company, and all the stablers made happy by a golden harvest.”