Simmons’ Stable – Entry Two

Driving down West Boulevard, it’s hard to miss the large white stable that sits just 40 yards off the road. Not far from the city square, it’s nestled among quiet homes, a bustling elementary school and a scattering of civic structures. Many who reside in Mexico know of the stable’s former glory; others who see it in its shambled state, worn by weather and time, must imagine a modest past. Few probably know the complex and fantastic history that surround the once proud Simmons’ Stable.
Simmons Horse Stables
Its story begins in 1887 when the Clark and Potts Combination Sales Company erected the historic structure. Early in its history, the stable produced some of the world’s finest Saddlebred horses, helping give Mexico its distinction as Saddlebred Horse Capital of the World. Celebrated African American horseman and trainer Tom Bass once worked at the stable, training horses whose lineage can be traced to some of today’s finest show horses. Admired both at home and abroad, Tom Bass was invited to demonstrate his artistry in a command performance for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Even after Tom Bass’s time, the stable continued to figure prominently in the horse world. Horses auctioned from the famous stable found notable homes with both recent and past celebrated personalities, including American Presidents, movie stars like William Shatner and W.F. “Wild Bill” Cody who featured the horses in his Wild West shows.

Today, the stable bears the name of its latest owner, Arthur Simmons. Arthur Simmons purchased the stable in 1943 following a remodel that transformed the stable to the iconic edifice we recognize today.

The Simmons’ Stable Preservation Trust, comprised of a small group of passionate locals, was recently established to preserve and restore the Simmons’ Stable, its six-acre site and neighboring structures; including two additional stables, a Farrier’s shed, a storage shed and two grain bins, and the Arthur Simmons’ Residence which sits adjacent to the property. A large component of the Trust’s funding for the project came from public funding. Next week, I’ll discuss the implications of public and private funding on the historic project and process involved.

For more information, visit the following:

The Simmons’ Stable Preservation Fund website; www.saddlebredhalloffame.org

The Audrain Historical Society Museum website; www.audrain.org

Arthur Simmons: American Icon of the Horse World, A Daughter’s Memories, Volume One by Jane E. B. Simmons