California History

Knott's Berry Farm Blacksmith in Ghost Town, Buena Park, CA

Blacksmiths in California History

BUENA PARK: Knott's Berry Farm Blacksmith in Ghost Town
Along the north side of Main Street a small saddle-tank steam locomotive and borax train beside a real Blacksmith's shop greets guests and fans of the Old West. A blacksmith in a large leather apron stokes the hearth with bellows, then with a hammer, forges the red hot iron on an anvil to shape souvenir horseshoes. A working blacksmith is often available for guests to have ironworks made.

ANAHEIM: Disneyland Pirate's Lair Tom Sawyer Island 
W. Turner Blacksmith says, "The tools of me trade are forged in iron with fire and smoke. Give me a length of steel in one hand and a fair wind to guide me. Aye, there's nothing better - and nothing more a pirate needs." Explorer's Map of Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island W. Turner Blacksmith features props and show elements reminiscent of the blacksmith shop from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in which the character of Will Turner is introduced.

BIG BEAR CITY:  Big Bear Valley Historical Society Blacksmith Shop
Offers demonstrations of 1800's era stamp mill seasonally (closed during winter snow - ski season.) One of only two working in all of California. See how the miners of yesteryear crushed ore to get to the gold. Along with our seven historical buildings from as far back as 1875 filled with interesting artifacts, we have free gold panning for everyone, and a working blacksmith shop. Watch them make their famous Pirate Peanut Butter knife.

BIG SUR: Point Sur State Historic Park
Carpenter / Blacksmith Shop (1907)
Until Hwy. 1 was opened to Big Sur in 1932, trips to Monterey took a full day. This isolation required that the keepers do many of the repairs at the light station. The carpenter/blacksmith shop was built in 1907 to facilitate repairs, including the extensive metal water piping system and the cast-iron lantern on the lighthouse tower. Woodwork, painting, and glass repairs were also done here.

CHICO: Patrick Ranch Blacksmith Shop

COLOMA: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
A number of historic buildings and sites including the working blacksmith shop, the Price-Thomas and Papini homes, the Mormon, James Marshall and Miner's cabins, and the Indian bedrock mortar remain to remind us of that tumultuous period.

COLUMBIA: Columbia State Historic Park Parrotts Blacksmith Shop
Main Street

EUREKA: Blue Ox Mill Works Historic Park

FORT ROSS: Fort Ross State Historic Park
Settlement Ross was the first to have a full-time blacksmith (and, at times, two) in California.

GRASS VALLEY: Empire Mine State Historic Park
Blacksmith Shop
In the early days, equipment from door hinges to pump covers and stamps was fabricated in the company shops.

JAMESTOWN: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park Blacksmith

LEBEC: Fort Tejon State Historic Park Blacksmith Shop
During the 19th century the Post Blacksmith was of vital importance to military or civilian communities and Fort Tejon was no different. The Blacksmith was a master craftsman. The Blacksmith was not a Farrier, although he could shoe a horse, his primary duty was to make all the hardware for the Fort's building (hinges, bolts, latches, and special tools) and also make repairs to wagons and other equipment as necessary. Safety is of utmost concern with Park Volunteer Blacksmiths available for your classes visit. The tremendous need for safety and high level of training required to run the Blacksmith Shop working with coal fired forges (more than 1500 degrees Fahrenheit) requires restricted access to the forge area.  Use of heavy leather gloves and eye protection goggles for adults and children is recommended. The Fort has a supply of these for your use at this station. It is important to clean up after each squad has finished their project and before the next squad arrives; do not wait until the end of the day. Tools need to be cleaned and put away at the end of the day as well. Blacksmith's Shop equipment supplied by Fort Tejon coal iron stock in various sizes bellows leg vise Blacksmith’s tools table anvil forge swage block quench tank

LOMPOC: La Purisima Mission National Historic Landmark
Over the next years, the three smaller buildings were completed and additional buildings reconstructed. It is considered the most completely restored mission in California, with ten of the original buildings fully restored and furnished, including the church, shops, quarters, and blacksmith shop.

MARIPOSA: Mariposa Museum and History Center Blacksmith Shop

MENDOCINO: Point Cabrillo Light Station
rehabilitate the Lighthouse, its lens, the Blacksmith/Carpenter Shop and Oil House.

NOVATO:  Olompali State Historic Park Blacksmith Shop

PLACERVILLE: Gold Bug Park Blacksmith Shop
The park's working Blacksmith Shop provides an accurate depiction and demonstration of the importance of this ancient trade to the mining industry.

SACRAMENTO: Sutter's Fort Blacksmith Shop
Blacksmithing was probably the most important profession on the frontier. The blacksmith had to take the raw imported iron that Sutter acquired and turn it into locks, into wheels, into just about everything that was metal at the Fort. You'll notice that this is an operational blacksmith shop that's used several times a year at the fort. We have a large bellows to provide the air that generates the heat through the forge, and the blacksmith has a lot of specialty tools. Nailsthink about how many nails there are holding this building, and all of the buildings of Sutter's Fort, together. All of those nails had to be manufactured right here in the blacksmith shop. Sutter had many blacksmiths that worked for him, and at times there were as many as five or six blacksmith shops in operation within the fort walls.

SAN DIEGO: San Diego Old Town State Historic Park Blackhawk Livery Stables
Now it serves as a blacksmith and woodworking demonstration area in the park. From The Village Blacksmith Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1841.
Iron worked by the blacksmith was vital to every economic aspect of our society. Besides making horseshoes, blacksmiths made tools, such as hammers, saws, wrenches, chisels, etc. The farmer relied on blacksmiths for shovels, axes, mattocks, and plowshares, while items for the home included ladles, pots, pans, trivets, and fireplace andirons. When an object broke, the smith would repair it. When Mexico was under Spanish rule, iron was manufactured in Spain and sent to Mexico where it was worked into tools and implements for California and the rest of New Spain. There were neighborhoods of blacksmiths in Mexico City that were engaged in this work. Tools were shipped to California for use in the Missions and Presidios. A blacksmith in California was most often involved in the maintenance and repair of tools rather than forging entirely new objects. The first expeditions to Alta California always had blacksmiths who taught their trade to the Indian people at the missions. With the arrival of the Americans and wagons with spoke wheels, the blacksmiths shoed horses and refitted iron tires on wagons in addition to repairing tools, farming implements, cooking utensils, and weapons.

SANTA BARBARA: Casa del Herrero
(House of the Blacksmith)
transported back to Montecito in the 1920s and 1930s the heyday of the original owner George Fox Steedman. Designed by George Washington Smith, the Casa is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in America. It is included on the National Register of Historic Places, and maintains National Historic Landmark status in part due to its eclectic mix of Country Place Era and Moorish-inspired gardens.

SANTA CRUZ: Wilder Ranch State Park
Activities may include: wagon rides, preparing period meals, forging metal in the blacksmith shop, The building was restored in 1999.

SHASTA: Shasta State Historic Park Blacksmith Shop
Throughout the year, the blacksmith shop is operated by Redding area blacksmith volunteers. Demonstrations, classes, and workshops are offered to the visiting public, school groups, and during park events.

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