Norm Duggleby was born 100 years too late, says wife Judy.
Duggleby, 55, has a passion for the old West, which he expresses through wagon-making.
His neighborhood home is filled with hand-crafted wagons replicating those used by cowboys and pioneers between the 1830s and early 1900s.
“I have collected several old (miniature) wagons over the years,” Duggleby says. “They’re kind of hard to come by. I thought it would be fun to see if I could make one myself.”
Duggleby first made a covered wagon in November 1993. He has since moved on to chuck wagons, used by cowboys on cattle runs; freight wagons, used to move goods from the east to the west; farming wagons, used like a family automobile for traveling into town; and stagecoaches, used for public transportation.
His wagons have been displayed at a fall craft festival sponsored by Weir’s Furniture Village.
“I was watching too much TV,” says Duggleby, explaining why he took up wagon-making. “I really enjoy the creative part. Everyone collects something.”
A marketing consultant by profession, Duggleby sells his limited-edition replicas for $300-$1,000, depending on the style, he says. Each wagon comes with a written history, which Duggleby researches and writes.
But Duggleby says wagon-making isn’t his business: It’s his hobby.
“I like the simplicity of the old West,” says Duggleby, who grew up in a small Indiana farming community.
“If you think about the values of the pioneers, that’s what we have lost today. They had to preserve. They were honest. They used a handshake to make a deal. They had to look out for one another.”
Duggleby and his wife have two grown children, Scott and Donya, both of whom graduated from Lake Highlands High School.
His fascination with the old West doesn’t stop with wagons. He also collects cowboy hats, saddles and other western memorabilia.
“I admire the resourcefulness of the early pioneers,” Duggleby says. “Can you imagine packing up your family, putting everything you own in a wagon and going to find new country?”
For information about Duggleby’s wagons, call him at 348-9173.