144-Year-Old Shoe.jpg

What's This? 144-Year-Old Shoe

Finding Buried Treasure

Tony Gathof, a construction inspector for the Louisville, Ky., Water Co., was on the job site in mid-October 2021 to replace a 144-year-old main on Frankfort Avenue. Gathof was watching for foundry marks on the 36-inch cast-iron pipe when a horseshoe was unearthed.

Louisville Water reached out to American Farriers Journal to help identify the shoe. We enlisted the help of International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member Steve Kraus, who is head of Farrier Services and senior lecturer at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The shoe is a light hind with an extended heel for a driving horse that was hitched to a wagon or carriage. The extended heel shortens the horse’s stride and helps prevent it from clipping the front shoes.

Among the expenses for laying the 36-inch main (bottom right) was an allocation of $11.78 for shoeing horses, according to Louisville Water’s 1877 annual report.

If you have more information about the shoe, please share it with us at jcota@lessitermedia.com.


Jay Ferguson, Louisville Water Museum; Steve Kraus, Cornell University; Frank Lessiter, American Farriers Journal

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