I am writing a story that is set in Philadelphia 1904. The protagonist of the story travels to a part of town near a church, parks his horse and buggy, and walks a couple of blocks to visit a brothel. I know there were stables that were used (at least that is what I have learned from my initial research), but what other methods are there for this sort of short term parking that we take for granted?

  • Hitching posts
  • Tethering rings
  • Stables

How did they prevent theft of their horse and buggy with hitching posts and tethering rings?

Reference: 10 Relics From Horse-Powered Cities Hiding in Plain Sight (Mental Floss)

  • 4
    Servants. And privilege.
    – MCW
    Nov 16, 2022 at 0:56
  • 9
    Horse theft was a hanging offense.
    – justCal
    Nov 16, 2022 at 3:27
  • 3
    Parking at a church during brothel opening hours could attract suspicion too :) "Hey, that's Flanagan's horse. Wonder what he's doing here? He doesn't volunteer at the church..." :) Nov 16, 2022 at 11:14
  • 2
    Philadelphia in 1900 already had over 1.2 million people. Probably a certain amount of anonymity could be found. City street pic circa 1900 (with a church and buggies) on Alamy here.
    – justCal
    Nov 16, 2022 at 12:16
  • @justCal ... is that a hitching post to the right lower quadrant of the photo? That is a cool photo. Thanks for sharing.
    – david
    Nov 17, 2022 at 1:33

1 Answer 1


In my area we still have communities that drive horse and buggy. The arrangements for parking your horse haven't changed significantly in the last 120 years.

Any place where people are likely to park their horse there is a hitching post, a simple horizontal bar on top of vertical posts that you can tie the reins to. These days there is often shelter for the horse too. At churches there are enough hitching posts, spaced out around a "parking lot" for as many horses as are expected, but they are not covered. The hitching posts are spaced so that you can park the horses without unhitching them from the buggies.

There aren't stables. People care for their horses at home.

Here are some links to pictures: 1 2

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