James Beekman had his family's coat of arms painted prominently on the doors, most likely after it arrived in New York. Walk around it and take a look. If you watch movies set in the 1700s, you might get the impression that everyone rode in carriages like this one. But painted carriages like this—with beveled glass windows and a place at the back for a footman—were rare even among the elite of the colonies. For instance, we know that in 1766 there were only 26 coaches like this in all of New York City. Probably the Beekmans used it only for special occasions, like going to balls and banquets and other formal events, since they had simpler carriages for daily use. This coach stayed in the Beekman family until they donated it to the Historical Society in 1911. It was hidden during the Revolutionary War so that it wouldn't be destroyed, and now it's one of only three coaches to survive in its original condition from 18th century America. Click here for a video tour of the Beekman Coach with Curator Margaret K. Hofer.

This coach belonged to the Beekman family of New York City. James Beekman was a merchant, and he was wealthy enough to have ordered it from England and shipped to the colonies in 1771.

Creative: Tronvig Group