Busbee donates family wagon to Wagener
WAGENER — Finding a traditional two-horse wagon these days is hard work, but residents and visitors of Wagener will soon get to the see one every time they pass through the middle of the town.
For more than 40 years, Judson Busbee has had his great-grandfather’s red wagon literally hanging up in the back of his store, Busbee’s Hardware & Supply.
Busbee recently unveiled the idea of donating it to the City of Wagener after realizing he would likely be handing over the keys to the store in the next few years.
He said it took two days to get the wagon down and he had to disassemble it to complete the task.
“I’m 67 and knowing in advance that I’ll be turning the store over in the next few years, I wanted to go ahead and make inquiries on if the town would like to have it, since the town sponsored Wagons to Wagener,” Busbee said.
The sacrifice is a noble one, especially since the wagon has been a part of Busbee’s family for more than 100 years. According to him, it was used on the family farm from 1905 to 1955.
The wagon served several purposes, including taking the family to church and into town, transporting cotton to the gin and carrying lumber to the local railroad for shipment to Charleston.
Busbee said the wagon and wheels were originally painted red and while the top half has faded out, the footing has retained much of the original color, which should remind people of the old days.
He jokingly added that people knew you were “stepping out” if you had a two-horse wagon, which still makes the wagon a special possession.
“It’s the largest piece of memorabilia that connects to the town,” he said. “I think they will be glad to get it and keep it as part of our heritage here.”
Busbee said he thought Wagener Mayor Mike Miller was going to pass out from excitement when he brought up the idea of donating it to the city.
While a location isn’t final, Miller said they’re currently looking to house the wagon on the strip of land between Nancy Bonnette Public Library and the Wagener firehouse.
“I think getting the wagon will be very significant because it was a real, family wagon, like back in the old days,” Miller said. “There aren’t many left that haven’t been modified, so it will be a real treasure to have it as part of the city.”
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University.