A Sicilian surprise at Grant’s Farm in Missouri

Grants farm 4 (1024x576)You never know where the Italian south is going to show up.

My daughter and her husband planned a family outing when I visited them this month near St. Louis, Missouri. Grant’s Farm looked like a family-friendly place that their toddler daughter would enjoy, and the history of the place appealed to the adults.

The property was given to Ulysses S. Grant by his wife’s parents when they married, and their cabin, built in 1855, is still on the property. Grant also built an interesting fence from Civil War rifle barrels. In 1907, August Busch bought the property and developed it as a family getaway in the style of the rich and famous. As the fortunes of Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company rose, the Busch family developed world class riding stables, and gathered exotic animals. The friends they hosted loved the place so much, eventually the family decided to open part of it to the public.

Since the day we visited was rainy (to put it mildly) we were glad to browse the Bauernhof, a building where several horses were stabled. Trophy cases filled with blue ribbons and silver engraved plates and bowls reflected the Busch family’s horsemanship. Another wing held their collection of carriages, wagons, and sleighs–dozens of horse-drawn vehicles.Grants farm 2 (823x1024)

And there I found the unexpected, the Sicilian surprise: A beautiful pair of Sicilian wedding carts dating from the 1700s. Traditionally pulled by donkeys, the carts were the smallest vehicles in the collection. I hope my photos give you a glimpse of the Sicilian history they represent. One is for the bride and one for the groom. The detailed carving and bright color stood in high contrast to the gleaming black carriages and bright red Budweiser wagon nearby!Grants farm 1Grants farm 6 (865x1024)Grants farm 5 (741x1024)

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8 thoughts on “A Sicilian surprise at Grant’s Farm in Missouri

  1. Sandy,

    It probably should be a surprise to find some Italian history in Missouri, but it seems surprising anyway. I read a book a while back titled, “How the Scots Invented the Modern World and Everything In It.” I think it’s time for a book titled, “Molto Bella: How the Italians Conquered the world with Vino, Pasta, and Interesse Appassianato!”

    Perhaps I’m a little over caffeinated this morning…

    • I was born in Sicily and as a little girl (with fading memories) I remember the bride and some children (or maybe family members) taken to the church on the cart. Don’t know if it was used again by both bride and groom after the wedding as I remember long lines (usually the entire village attended the wedding) of village people following the bride and groom to where ever the reception took place. I came to this site looking for someplace to purchase a miniature Sicilian Wedding Cart. I have one long time ago but it broke and foolishly I threw it away thinking I could get another. Unfortunately I can’t find them anywhere any longer.

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