What the Helen of Troy is This?

This is from Shaw. I kinda seem to remember that maybe we once said this was used to mount a horse way back in the day? It’s possible I might have just made that up. Anyone else ever see these in other parts of town?

18 Comment

  • I’m 99% sure it’s a grave.

  • Granitrification.

    • Damn those intrusive, felsic, igneous rocks moving in on the non glacial erratics!! Just horrible

  • It’s a step for getting into a carriage. They’re all over the place in most older cities in the US.

    • +1 What Bob said

    • Didn’t carriages have fold-down steps? And with a bunch of carriages coming and going, would one fixed stone step like this – requiring only one carriage to stop in one exact place at a time really be practical? And why the stone slab as well – did these pre-date the brick sidewalks?

      And it looks like there are letters or words carved into the slab – anyone know what they are?

      • OK – Google came through somewhat on this, though the big stone slab part is still puzzling. Looks like they were probably installed before the crazy-busy congested carriage days of the late 19th century I was thinking of.


        • Someone actually compiled a video of carriage steps around the country?! That’s so … awesome. I love finding out about things that interest people.

  • Doesn’t seem old and weathered enough to have bee there that long but since I am looking at a picture hard to say.

  • anon. gardener

    Maybe a mounting block for a pony. That is way too short to be of any use in getting on a regular size horse. The carriage thing sounds plausible to me.

  • I totally thought it was a grave of some sort as well, but hopefully not considering its location.

  • Looks like it was designed expressly to trip people walking down the sidewalk.

  • That is definitely for a carriage. There are tons of these in Richmond, VA. Many of them were owned by wealthy citizens who often had them personalized with their own initials or names. Some in Richmond had like “Dr.” such-and-such. They were used because I believe the streets were much more muddy back then and allowed the person to step out onto a platform before actually stepping into the street itself. In Richmond there are also still horse tie-up rings in some places in the streets and alleys. I guess they just don’t have as many of these left in DC.

  • Second the carriage step: sidewalks were never made of brick then (too expensive), but usually wood slats over dirt, or plain dirt itself, which obviously turned to mud in the rain and in winter months.

  • I think it’s a step for people to get into their Hummers.

  • Can you imagine how many car doors bear the ding of hitting that thing!

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