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Santa's Mechanic: Sleigh man keeps past alive

Missouri resident Bill Engel has amassed an amazing collection of nearly 300 sleighs, with some dating back to the 1800s.

(WHO/NBC News) Bill Engel is keeping a piece of the past alive in Denver, Missouri.

Engel owns nearly 300 sleighs, some dating back to the 1800s.

Engel started collecting 16 years ago when he saw an old sleigh purchased at an auction, then immediately torn apart.

"I said 'what are you doing?' And they said 'all we want are the runners.' And I said 'what for?' and they said 'we're going to cut them down and make coffee tables.'

He was offended--and started buying all he could find.

He doesn't actually use the sleighs, as most are now too fragile or dilapidated. But grouped inside his buildings, the intricate sleighs make a great setting for a history class.

"I don't redo the sleighs, I try to stabilize them," Engel says.

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