The Vllage's Landau Carraige


 The First Official Carraige

With so much growth, the frontier Village town formed a citizen's government.    A "landau" originally known as a "landau carraige" was bought by a Spokane livery stable and resold to the city as their official guest transportation.  The elegant city carriage was intended to show off the new town as being cultured and progressive. 

That early purchase of a very fashionable town carriage made the 1884 a special ymbol of the Village.  The landeau, was known by everyone in the Village as "the landau"..

The Spokane "landau" was originally bought by a Spokane livery stable and then resold to the city to be used as their official guest transportation.  The elegant city carriage was intended to show off the new town as being cultured and progressive. 

What Is A Landau?

In 1743 in a German city called Landau, the first fashioable carraige was made. 

A landau, which was always drawn by a pair of four-in-hand horses was one of several kinds of elegant social carriages made.   With seat facing each other and positioned over a dropped footwell, it was perfect.  The swept base flowed gracefully over a smooth curved chassis.  It showed off its wealthy riders for all the world to see.  The landau had a soft folding top divided into two sections, front and rear, with a latch at the center. The top usually opened to be laying perfectly flat.  In bad weathr the back section could be let down or thrown back at a moments notice.  The front section could be fully removed if needed like in a state funeral.

The landau's center section might contain a fixed full-height glazed door, or more usually a low half-door.  There would usually be a separate raised open coachman's upholstered bench-seat, but a landau could be "positillion" driven.  That meant a driver would simply ride on the back of the horse in front of the carraige.  That was always the way a state funeral was held.  

And there was sometimes a separate rear end groom's seat, sprung above and behind the rear axle.  The rear seat saved the groom from having to stand on a running board.

A five-glass landau was fitted with a front glass windscreen and two windows on each side (including retractable windows on the doors).

The early landeau had been made popular in America by being first used at Niagara Falls, New York.   It was considered the fashionable way to be seen.   Bridal couples rode all over in a landeau in style and had their pictures taken.  

The Village Landau

The city's landeau was always seen waiting at the railroad station to meet the daily arriving train. 

When any person who rode in took the city's landau, it let the townsfolk know he was a "swell". 

The landeau was in demand for all fancy weddings  The wedding tour consisted of being driven in the landau up and down the streets and throughout the hills on the north and south sides of town.  The bride was always bedecked in her finery and the groom was wearing his first "stovepipe" hat. 

Riding in the landeau was always the source of keen showmanship and there was  jealous competition.  People arriving late to a dinner party said they simply could not get the landeau earlier. 

Carraiges for the Rich

Within two years the old landau vehicle had disappeared.   Replacing it were elegant carriages owned by the upper class in the city.  Spokane was blessed with good wide streets, elegant new homes, and beautiful drives into the hills surrounding the town.     Expensive sprawling houses now had grand carriages and teams of groomed show horses.  Citizens who were substantially rich appeared in public with their team and carriage, showing off their wife and daughters.


The carraige would go on to be the status symbol in Spokane until 1900 when the first "horseless carraige" showed up, soon to replace the carraige.


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