Main Street, U.S.A., has a number of elements that are authentic to the time they depict, from century-old railings, to lovingly restored antique machinery, to asphalt made from billion-year-old petroleum, to octogenarian guests. These hitchhiking posts — cast from life masks of real, turn-of-the-century miniature ponies — are an example of just such an attention to detail. They were originally created in 1920 by a blacksmith who went on to fall into despair over bankruptcy brought on by the rise of the automobile and fling himself into the street where he was, ironically, run over by a horse.
The hitching posts on Main Street were in active use for many years, first by guests (until the parking-lot corral was completed), then by Disney Animal Care until they successfully lobbied for a backstage place to keep the horses when the animals weren’t on duty. After that, the posts were used in elaborate Disneyland weddings, in which bride and groom would arrive in separate horse-drawn carriages. Before the ceremony, the couple would dismount and their steeds would be roped to a hitching post so that they didn’t wander about during the nuptials. (This is, by the way, where the phrase “getting hitched” came from — and couples who came together to tie their separate steeds to one post were said to be “tying the knot.”.)
Today, the posts are seldom used for horses, although they are often found useful by parents who have their children on “toddler leashes” and want someplace to fasten the little ones so Mommy and Daddy can have a little grownup souvenir shopping time.
Coming up next: Flagpole