The history of W H Collins Livery Stable
In 1904, at the age of 31, after losing his first wife to sickness, William Henry (W.H.) Collins, moved from White Plains, SC (near Pageland) to Waxhaw NC. He worked at the A.W. Heath company, (present day Antique Mart, and Farms and Estates Realty) for a few year until the opportunity came about in the early 1910’s to buy the existing McCain and King Livery Stable business which was located at corner of S. Main and S. Broome St.
Livery Stables in those times were essential to the day to day lives of people. Area residents who had come into town to stock up on supplies, often stabled their horse or mules there for the day so as to received feed, water and shelter. Travelers in town on business could rent horse and buggy for transportation. Saddles, harnesses and wagons were sold. Mules were staged there in large common stalls to be sold to farmers. Horses and mules could be fitted with and have new shoes securely nailed on by the farrier. You most likely would find a checkers game going on, as well. It was indeed a busy, active place.
In 1923 the business name on the sign changed to, W.H. Collins and Son, when he welcomed his eldest son, John, in joining the business; who had recently returned from serving in the pre WW1 Cavalrey, WW1 as a Private First Class Horseshoer and playing a couple of years of semi-professional baseball.
John, became the Livery Stable manager, as well as, managing the operations of the farms his dad bought and sold, flipped. He also took over the purchasing of the mules sold to the area farmers. He took several yearly trips out to Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska where the countries top mule auctions were held and brought them back on several RR stock cars, 25 mules per car.
In 1932 the Livery Stable burned to the ground, with all contents lost. Another one was very soon built to replace it, but was relocated to the back corner of the block.
Operations continued for the next twenty five years with the sale of mules and horses, but with the increasing use of cars, trucks and tractors fewer were sold each passing year. As the years wound down for W.H. Collins so did the activity at the barn. With his passing in 1956, the barn was sold out of the Collins family.
Fifty-eight years passed with the old livery stable building serving in numerous and varying capacities. Owned by Jame C Davis for approximately 40 years it’s last use was for storage.
With the passing of Mr Davis in 2014 and a short lived ownership by another party the Old W.H. Collins Livery Stable came back into family ownership when it was purchased by the great grandson of W.H. Collins and grandson of John Collins; Mark Collins Hernig.
After 5 1/2 years of touch and go restoration and financial backing from American Bank of the Carolina’s the old livery stable building is back in operation.
Even though mules are no longer sold here, numerous local entrepreneurs are housed in the barn along with an active Blacksmith Shop located in the back of the Barn. Weekly activities may be booked for small businesses or family get togethers. Restaurants are close by to order take out, so bring your next event to the pergola at 121 S. Broom. Call or stop in for more info.
With too many historic buildings being demolished and replaced by modern ones this day in age, the old W.H. Collins Livery Stable is restored and here to stay.
Mark Collins Hernig