In a society where land travel always involved either horses or the railway, the livery stable was an essential service in every town. In addition to renting out horses, wagons, and sleighs, the livery stable also provided a place for boarding horses, whether its owner was just in town running errands for a few hours or departing for a few weeks by train. In other words, the livery served as a kind of parking lot for horses, where the animal would be fed, looked after, and kept clean. For a traveler who just stepped off the train, it was also somewhat like a car rental agency. By hiring out its carriages and teams, the livery stable allowed a visitor a means of getting from the station to his destination, or even a way of touring the area during his stay here.
Because it was such an important service for visitors, every hotel was required to have a livery stable or barn during the nineteenth century, where the public could leave their horses during their stay. Although this was a convenient service, one livery barn touched off the most serious blaze ever in Kensington. In 1924, flames consumed nearly an entire block in Kensington's business district, reducing it to ashes. The fire started in the livery stable attached to the Commercial Hotel. A lantern overturned and, when it came into contact with the dry straw and hay housed in the stable, the blaze was out of control almost instantaneously. Only two stores in the downtown core survived the inferno.
Mr. Herbert Moase operated a livery stable in Kensington for over twenty years. Thomas Barrett, Henry Leslie, James Lynds, Peter Cann and John MacLeod were other livery stable owners throughout the town's history. For more information on Herbert Moase and his livery stable, click here.