Stop 2: Horse-Drawn
After the Civil
War, non-military hospitals started using horse-drawn ambulance
services for their patients.
In 1873 the MGH purchased a one-horse ambulance “to
be kept in readiness for prompt service on call…in sending
for physicians and patients.”
Its duties included
picking up non-contagious patients and fetching doctors out of
bed at night for emergencies. For many years a docile animal known
affectionately as “Old White Horse”
pulled the ambulance. It was said that
at night physicians could hear the clumping of his heavy hooves
on Beacon Hill cobblestones from many blocks away.
The hospital acquired this ambulance
in 1888 to replace the original 1873 model. It was replaced in
turn by electric, steam, and eventually gasoline-driven ambulances.