Had animal-drawn vehicles and saddle horses for hire. Served doctors on calls; people arriving on or meeting trains; lawyers attending court;"drummers" (salesmen) on local rounds; land seekers; hunters and fishermen; young men courting; ladies out visiting.
Usually housed in a good frame or brick building; stalls, harness rooms, office might cover a block. Pasture was nearby. Boarded teams of businessmen and townspeople. Provided hearses, funeral carriages.
Stable was town's "club"—for men trading, meeting visitors, getting news. After school, used boys for deliveries; they took along horses to ride back to barn. They painted, polished carriages; groomed, fed horses. Tramps cleaned stables, slept in hay. Manager often "doctored" animals, sometimes was an undertaker.
Fine saddle horses and rigs stood out front, for show — top buggies, with storm curtains; plush-lined hacks; Studebaker dray wagons. Rent: $3 to $5 a day.
On this courthouse site (until 1912) was Blackwell Livery Stable. To the east (1880 - 1914) Nidever Livery Stable kept city fire engine team at its front. In minutes after an alarm, had fire wagon on its way.
A centuries-old institution, the livery stable vanished about 1915. No true successor replaced it. Early travel, communication and transportation series.