In an age when virtually everything needed by man can be had, ready-made from store or factory, it is somewhat difficult to imagine the need for and reliance on the blacksmith by communities of 150 to 200 hundred years ago.
To our ancestors the blacksmith combined the work of the welding shop, the service station, and the hardware store in one man. Every community had need of a good blacksmith and Fort Vancouver was no exception, employing at least four at any one time.
To assess the full worth and standing of the blacksmith in early communities one has only to examine the character of the items he made, and the way in which he met the problems connected with each.
Virtually every article for home or farm that could not be formed of wood was the province of the blacksmith.
Look around your own home today and try to imagine the blacksmith making all the iron or steel items, both mechanical and non-mechanical that you see.
To say that the smith was an important member of the community would be an understatement. He was a necessity, whether in the city or in a small village on the far western frontier.
Today you can observe the important work of the historic blacksmith by visiting the ongoing demonstrations in the blacksmith shop where you can observe staff and volunteers manufacturing historic accurate tools and hardware from iron.
Did You Know?
Did you know that John McLoughlin, Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, is known as the “Father of Oregon” for his aid to American immigrants arriving over the Oregon Trail? His home in Oregon City, Oregon is a unit of the national park system administered by Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. More...