Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 1, 2013

Hahiran builds Amish-style carriages

HAHIRA — Walter Byrd makes a living speaking quickly, but his hobby is working projects slowly.

An auctioneer by day and a horse-carriage builder by night, Byrd represents an uncommon blend of talents that dovetail where history is concerned. His favorite setting to hold auctions is estate sales, where he claims the ability to earn clients unexpectedly large sums for their antiques.

“What I like about the auction business better than anything else is helping people get rid of things,” Byrd said. “You can take old items to the regular auction, or hold a yard sale, but you can never get as much as you can at an estate auction.”

His interest in auctions and sales brings him to Perry every May and November for the Southern Georgia Horse-carriage and Antique Auction, hosted by members of the Amish community. With a love of horses, Byrd became fast friends with the Amish, whose lifestyle he has come to deeply respect.

Byrd began constructing his own horse-carriages after the Amish model—by hand and with simple tools. The only difference is he pulls his electricity for his welder and tire machine from the grid instead of from a generator.

“It’s a dying thing that people don’t do anymore,” Byrd said. “There’s nothing better than having horses hooked up and being in a carriage going down the road with a cup of coffee or a soda and listening to the clippity clop. It’s very relaxing.”

Byrd has built carriages for other people for about six years. They are of remarkable quality and don’t go cheap.

His most recent sale was a white hearse with Canadian rollers and a plush interior that sold to Blankumsee, Thomas and Wright Funeral Home in Quitman for $20,000. It is one of very few such hearses in the area.

Byrd’s model uses a steel frame, mig-welded together, and wooden interior and exterior to conceal the frame. He builds the wheels and adds the rubber to the tires himself

using a carriage-specific tool.

“There’s probably not another one of those machines that can put tires on spoke wheels in all of South Georgia,” Byrd said. “It’s an interesting machine.”

The greatest difficulty in the construction process is balancing the carriage once it is all put together, Byrd said.

“You want it to be as smooth as you can, like it’s gliding,” Byrd said.

Byrd uses a full undercut design to make his carriages more maneuverable, and has invented his own lighting system involving foot switches to control turn signals.

From the Amish, Byrd learned patience, he said. And that value has improved his quality of life considerably.

“They have the most patience of anybody I have ever seen,” Byrd said. “The first time I fixed a buggy, I felt like, ‘Golly, let’s just take this thing and cut it up,’ but they’re super patient people. Quality, decent people.”

Residents interested in Byrd’s work can call his business, Horse and Buggies, (229) 560-7176.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-man_hunt001.jpg Dump truck thieves sought

    Authorities continued searching for suspects Monday evening connected to a stolen dump truck involved in a chase with law-enforcement.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • City workers strike natural gas main

    A gas leak evacuated a neighborhood Monday when workers struck a natural gas main.

    July 29, 2014

  • education.jpg Desegregation status approved

    Forty-three years after an initial lawsuit was filed to force the system to desegregate, Valdosta City Schools has officially been approved for “unitary status.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results