For sale: 19th c. gem

Karen Magid
Owner Karen Magid shows off the caravan's interior. Photos by Ralph Stewart

By Jesse Husid - July 26, 2007

Snake oil store, circus trailer, apothecary and European mobile home. These are just a few of the roles that a 19th century English caravan in West Tisbury has played in its lifetime. The 8- by 21-foot caravan is currently situated at the Red Pony Farm, where its owner, Karen Magid, has recently put it up for sale, while it undergoes its first renovation in 25 years.

Built in 1890, the caravan was originally used to sell goods such as oil and medicines in England. Though it can now be hitched to the back of a car or truck, the caravan was originally drawn by a horse. It traveled across the country, often with the circus, and served as both a mobile dwelling and a storefront. Years later, a man named Buddy Sherman bought it in Europe and had it restored before exploring the continent in it.

About 25 years ago Mr. Sherman brought it home to Rhode Island where he once again had it restored. In 1997 he brought it to the Vineyard, but decided he did not want to bring it back with him. Instead, he offered to trade it to Ms. Magid in exchange for all the antiques in her antique shop, Red Pony Antiques. "He wanted to start an antique store out in California, so he took all of my stuff, which was good, because it was really impossible to run an antique store and a riding school at the same time," said Ms. Magid of her first encounter with Mr. Sherman.

caravan
The outside of the caravan being closely guarded by Nearly Noodle.

Ms. Magid's original intent was to sell the caravan, but has since used it for housing and storage. "I've lived in it," said Ms. Magid. "It's very nice. It's like living on a boat. There's tons and tons of space."

The inside of the caravan consists of a bedroom to the side, and a main living space that contains a working wood stove, and could be used as an additional bedroom.

Ms. Magid is making sure that the renovation allows the caravan to be in tip-top shape without sacrificing any of its 19th century charm. This includes the repainting of both the interior and exterior of the caravan, as well as sanding and varnishing, among other projects. "The more we chipped away at it, the more we found. It's been quite a little ordeal," said Ms. Magid. "But it was either that or junk it and then sell each of the interior pieces separately. Plus, you know, it's a work of art, you don't really want to let it go."

For any inquiries regarding the caravan, contact Karen Magid at 508 693-3788.