Call it the Lamborghini of its day.

This unique, fire-engine red circa-1885 road cart with racing stripes once belonged to a one of Wilton’s founding families, the Gregory family, and was recently gifted to the Wilton Historical Society. The road cart was given by Margaret Gregory in honor of her husband, the late Julian A. Gregory (1912-2002).

“This gift is the most important collection piece accessioned for the Society’s permanent collection in the past decade,” says executive director Leslie Nolan. “The Road Cart’s ties to the illustrious Gregory family make its Wilton connection and educational value of the history of transportation in a small New England town, invaluable.”

The cart made one stop on its way from the Gregory barn on Belden Hill Rd., to Bird-in-Hand, PA for restoration, before finding its new parking spot at the Historical Society. A life-long friend of the Gregory family (who wishes to remain anonymous) arranged for the restoration work, as a gift to the Society in honor of Julian and Margaret Gregory.

According to the restoration specialist, Double E Carriages, this cart is rather unusual.

“Road carts were designed to be a lightweight, economical, means of transportation, usually for one or two passengers. This cart has the somewhat unusual seat suspension, where the seat is mounted on wooden bars that pivot in the center with the front ends supported by leaf springs, to give a smoother ride for the passengers. This suspension is similar to the carts manufactured by the Coldwater Road Cart Co. and was also patented by then.”

Before restoration

The Gregory family’s roots in Wilton go back to the Town’s very beginning. Jachin Gregory II moved to Wilton from Norwalk in 1718, and was a signer of the 1726 petition to make Wilton Parish a separate entity from Norwalk. The family home at 169 Belden Hill Rd. was built in 1740 by Matthew Gregory, and the family still resides there, 277 years later. Julian A. Gregory, Sr. was a founding member of the Wilton Historical Society, February 1938, and elected its first president. His son, Julian A. Gregory, established the prominent law firm of Gregory and Adams in 1964. The Gregory family has been a pillar of the Society. Their support and many contributions of important artifacts have helped preserve Wilton’s history for future generations.

The Wilton Historical Society is located at 224 Danbury Rd./Rte. 7.