Hello Friends and Family,

Pioneer Living History Museum, Part 5

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Before the days of the World Wide Web, and before the days of television, and even before the days of radio, newspapers brought the news to the small towns of late-19th century and early 20th-century America. The print shop was the hub where the newspaper was printed. Additionally, it was the place where flyers, business cards, invitations, etc. were produced.

Here we see the interior of the print shop which is a reconstruction of an 1890s shop that stood in Phoenix. The large blue contraption is one of the printing presses that semi-automated the process. Note the two cabinets with many large but shallow drawers --- these contained the moveable type that had to be assembled by hand. Sounds easy but remember that the raised letters were the mirror image of what would be printed, had to be assembled backward, and that the compartments of the job case were not in alphabetical order. And don't forget that after printing, the type had to be returned to their proper compartments. I know because I did all this in junior high shop class. Yep, I'm that old.

Here we see the exterior of the dress shop a reconstructed version of an 1890s Phoenix original.

No neon but a plain wooden sign announced the business owned by Pearl and Opal Magee, Proprietors.

Ready-made clothing was becoming more common at this time but this shop could provide the fancy duds that women might have needed for a wedding or other special occasion. Of course, not all of the town's females could afford such extravagance so the customers would likely have been the more well-to-do residents.

Next up is the blacksmith shop which is a reconstruction of Middleton and Pascoe's shop which was located in Globe, Arizona. Note the large double doors which allowed a team and wagon to pass through. The village blacksmith was a cornerstone of any prairie community because he made iron tools, hardware, horseshoes, as well as useful and decorative implements.

And this is the heart of the blacksmith shop --- the forge which used coal and forced-air from a bellows to heat the working iron to the point where it could be worked into whatever shape was needed for the customer.

After heating the metal, the blacksmith is now hammering it into a knife-blade shape. After hammering, the blacksmith would quench the piece in a small barrow of water. This process would be repeated until the work object was exactly what the customer needed.

Over to the side stands a buckboard wagon, obviously to have some of the metal pieces repaired or replaced. The blacksmith was a key member of the community not only for the new work he could do but also so for repairs of existing equipment.

Next to the blacksmith shop, there was a small slough where the kids could pan for gold. They seem to be having fun although I doubt any got rich that day.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com