The Neverwas Haul Victorian House on Wheels

The Neverwas Haul is a self-propelled, three-story mobile art vehicle that was designed to look like a Victorian house on wheels. The Haul was designed by Shannon O’Hare and built by a group of volunteers at the Shipyard art space in Berkeley, California, in 2006, inspired by the fantastical tales of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
The Haul is made of 75% recycled materials, is 24 feet long, 24 feet high, and 12 feet wide, and was originally designed as a “mutant vehicle” for the Nevada Burning Man art festival. It is constructed on the foundation of a fifth-wheel trailer, and the structure’s second and third stories fold into the first for highway towing.

BLM Nevada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Haul is capable of propelling itself at a top speed of 5 miles per hour when fully constructed and outfitted for display at Burning Man. It requires a crew of ten individuals to operate safely, as Victorian homes are known for lacking side- and rear-view mirrors. The Neverwas Haul currently resides at Obtainium Works, an O’Hare-owned “art car factory” in Vallejo, California, where several other self-described “contraptionists” call home.

The Haul is frequently associated with steampunk, a subculture that combines science fiction from the Victorian era and modern technology. The Neverwas Haul takes place in an alternate history that never existed, in which the Hibernian Empire, not the British Empire, ruled the social and political landscape of the nineteenth century—Hibernia is an obscure name for Ireland.

Jon ‘ShakataGaNai’ Davis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
This is in keeping with the alternate histories that are a staple of the steampunk genre. The Neverwas Haul, a Romani vardo-like vehicle driven by “Track Banshees,” itinerant women who use their preternatural mechanical skills to keep their families on the move, is considered to be the greatest of all the Hauls in this mythology.

Jon ‘ShakataGaNai’ Davis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The “Traveling Academy of Unnatural Science” uses the Haul as their primary mode of transportation. They want to share cultural staples like Gin and Tonics and High Tea with the heathens of the Black Rock Desert, where the Burning Man festival is held.

There are three main sections to the Neverwas Haul: engine room, parlor, and command deck. The engine room can hold up to six people and store additional cargo. A steering wheel the size of a full-size ship dominates the command deck. A dead man switch for emergency stops and a throttle for hydraulic control are the controls.

Jon ‘ShakataGaNai’ Davis, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The parlor is evenly distributed: it has a bar, library, veranda, classic stuffed seats, and a camera obscura. The “widows walk,” which has a view of the rooftop, can even be reached via stairs. Although the Neverwas Haul is referred to in a number of media outlets as an unusual RV or Winnebago, it is primarily a massive, excessively detailed kinetic art piece.