Because of their intended function, horse blocks were accessible to anyone and there was no reason to guard them — except for one night of the year. Pranksters annually targeted them in several ways on Halloween: flipping them if they were too heavy to carry off, piling several on the property of an unsuspecting owner, or placing them in unusual locations, like in the middle of road intersections.
A drastic change in transportation technology — the automobile — marked the beginning of the end for horse travel and several related items that were present just about everywhere: horse blocks, hitching posts, and watering troughs. Progress required the removal of many horse blocks, which had become obstructions to pedestrians and were frequently struck by cars, sometimes causing fatalities. (Driving skills were seriously lacking early on, and there were few regulations, so accidents were common.) » Continue Reading.