Blacksmith Shop - uneven threshhold

Old Cowtown Museum Tour

Blacksmith Shop - uneven threshhold

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Old Cowtown Museum


The Blacksmith Shop located in the Business District of Old Cowtown Museum represents a general repair shop, with emphasis on agricultural equipment repair, in Wichita during the 1870s. The blacksmith’s trade was an important business to the early settlement of Wichita. Before Wichita received railroad service in 1872, the blacksmith shop provided a necessary means of production and repair. In the absence of a sufficient, affordable and a continuous quantity of tools, farm equipment, and other hardware, the blacksmith shop was a business which was central to the economic base.

After Wichita received railroad service, the role of blacksmiths and their trade changed. The railroad provided more mass produced and factory manufactured goods. The railroad expanded Wichita’s industrial base to include foundries, wagon and farm equipment manufactures, and other industries which provided goods and services previously tied almost entirely on the blacksmiths’ trade. However, the railroad also increased settlement and expanded Wichita’s agricultural base to such a degree that the blacksmiths and their trade continued to provide an essential business need throughout Wichita during the 1870s. As evidence, the 1875 census listed only 11 blacksmiths. The Wichita City Directory of 1878 listed twenty‑four individuals as blacksmiths and twelve businesses, specifically, as blacksmith operations

G.A Millar Blacksmith Shop is named after a blacksmith who came to Wichita in the middle 1880s from Michigan. His shop boasted the sign “Shoe anything that wears hair.and don’t fly” His Jockey Shop at 923 East Douglas provided services for all animals from work horse to trotting horses.

During this period, the wheelwright and farrier trades (the farrier was engaged specifically in the fitting and shoeing of animals) were businesses which were closely aligned with to the blacksmith. A "general blacksmith shop" usually included those skilled in the wheelwright and farrier trades in order to meet the growing agricultural industry needs. . The general shop represented the changing role of technology in Wichita.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Old Cowtown Museum Tour


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