A look at the black­smith shops of Ad­mi­ral

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - CITY NEWS - By Craig Baird

If you were to walk into Ad­mi­ral at the turn of the cen­tury, you would smell and hear the black­smith shop pretty quick. For early com­mu­ni­ties, the black­smith shop was a vi­tal place of busi­ness. In Ad­mi­ral, Carl Nel­son has the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing one of the first black­smiths in the area when he set up his shop in a sod hut just north­west of Ad­mi­ral. Soon enough, Ole Woie opened up his own black­smith shop in a stone build­ing south of town in 1911.

Once the rail­way came through, Woie quickly moved his black­smith shop into town in 1914 on Rail­way Av­enue to take full ad­van­tage of the ex­tra busi­ness that was com­ing in. He con­tin­ued to up­grade his shop when in 1916 he put in a trip ham­mer to speed up his work.

He also has the honour of be­ing the first per­son to con­duct acety­lene weld­ing in the com­mu­nity. The anvil that Woie used was a piece of rail­road rail, show­ing the re­source­ful­ness of early set­tlers. He also made a blower for the forge and sharp­ened plot shares be­fore get­ting a reg­u­lar anvil.

Work was go­ing so well that in 1916, Bill Kasper­ski joined Woie at the black­smith shop to han­dle the in­crease in busi­ness. Joe Woyss would also join both men at the black­smith shop for awhile.

In 1918, Kasper­ski would buy out Woie and take over the black­smith shop him­self. He would con­tinue work­ing out of the shop for the next three decades be­fore he turned it into a Massey Har­ris ma­chine shop in the 1950s. In 1958, he would sell to Lawrence Lind.

Busi­ness was go­ing so well in Ad­mi­ral that th­ese were not the only two black­smiths to op­er­ate out of the com­mu­nity. In 1914, Emile Ubrich was also a black­smith for Keck’s when they op­er­ated a grad­ing out­fit.

Alex Gim­ple is an­other black­smith that op­er­ated in the area for a time. He worked for the Hicks broth­ers when he first ar­rived in Ad­mi­ral be­fore he be­gan black­smithing.

In 1917, he would buy a black­smith shop and op­er­ate it un­til 1942 when he moved to British Columbia due to the de­cline in horse farm­ing in the Ad­mi­ral area by then.

For most of the black­smiths in the area, the main work was pound­ing out ploughshar­es and putting on horse shoes. Bill Kasper­ski, the longestrun­ning black­smith in Ad­mi­ral’s his­tory, put the front shoes on 100 sad­dle horses once for the 76 Ranch. Th­ese shoes were steel with no toe corks. In order to get the shoes on the horse, the ponies were thrown down and a plank was put across their belly with a cow­boy on each side to hold the an­i­mal down while it had the horse shoes put on.

To­day, the black­smith shops are long gone but their im­pact on the early com­mu­nity life of Ad­mi­ral is un­mis­tak­able.

Have a sug­ges­tion or ques­tion? E-mail me at cr­w­[email protected]

Check out hun­dreds of ar­ti­cles on his­tory on my web­site at http://canadaehx.blogspot.ca

Lis­ten to my pod­cast by search­ing for Cana­dian His­tory Ehx on all pod­cast plat­forms.

All in­for­ma­tion for this piece comes from Ad­mi­ral: Prairie to Wheat­fields.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.