Secrets of the Blue Ridge: When Shoes and Tires Were Made from Iron

By Phil James

For earlier generations, everyday life depended mightily on the talents of those who plied the blacksmith trade. In the age which preceded and overlapped with the advent of the gasoline engine, it was the blacksmith and wheelwright who forged, tempered and sharpened the everyday hand tools, shod the hooves of the working beasts, and built the wagons and conveyances that served the populations.

Antique maps and local road signage give a nod to some of those early tradesmen: Bishop’s Shop, Bowen’s Shop, Critzer’s Shop, Davis Shop, Link Evans Lane, Nicksville, Rogers Shop.

Some blacksmiths were born into the business and learned their way around the shop at a very young age. In western Albemarle County, the 1880 census enumerated William Day, age 48, as a blacksmith, and his 12-year-old son William as a “striker” in the shop. Twenty-three year old William Woodson was already sharing full responsibilities with his father Benjamin in the elder’s establishment.

Exhibits and galleries

  1. Late last year, Kozak opened Billet & Bellows, a neighborhood-style cocktail bar and hangout spot inside what used to be her antique store and gallery on Grand Street. You could say not much has changed since the switch, as many They came up with
  2. Anvil Gallery: “Your Turn, Dear,” works by Jacinta Bunnell and Cindy Hoose, 45 N. Front St., Kingston. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mon. . Also: Collection of antique motorcycles, including Indians for every year from 1902-1953. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m
  3. Many are produced the old 12th and Vine district building, where employees mold sheets of brass into horns — carefully honoring a tradition that was best known in the 1930s and 1940s. It's a trade that only a few instrument companies are willing to

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