Blacksmith shop is still doing business

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Tom Wilsonís blacksmith shop is still in use today, looking much the same as it did some 90 years ago. The telephone number on the sign shows that this photo was taken years ago.

Tustin, despite no longer being an agricultural community with farm equipment to repair and horses to shoe still has a blacksmith shop.

Records are skimpy, but photos and memoirs show that Samuel Eddy was an early Tustin blacksmith. His shop occupied the southwest corner of Third and B streets over 100 years ago in the late 1800s. A trustee of the Sycamore School District from 1882 to 1885, Eddy and his wife were active members of the Christian Advent Church. It is possible that his son Ralph, also a blacksmith, kept the business open after his fatherís death,. Mrs. Eddy bought a house on the opposite corner and continued to live in the neighborhood.

Early photos show that John Wing operated a blacksmith shop on the north side of Main Street between C and D (El Camino Real) in 1919. A man named Darnell worked with him.
Tom Wilson, who came to Tustin about this time, opened a new blacksmith shop on C Street across from the Tustin Grammar School. With the combination of modern equipment, skill and courtesy, he soon built a profitable and permanent business.

A native of Idaho, Wilson had moved to Omaha, Neb., in 1897 and apprenticed himself to a horseshoer. After learning that trade, he took up general blacksmithing. During the Spanish-American War he served in the Navy as a blacksmith on the armored cruiser Brooklyn in the battle of Santiago.

He later saw service in the Philippines and during the Boxer uprising in China. He was proud of having visited nearly every important port in the Orient.

When his enlistment expired, he returned to San Francisco to be discharged. He then worked in Moore, Mont., as a blacksmith before coming to Tustin.

Wilson and his wife, Mertie, had a daughter, Mertie Marie. The family belonged to the Advent Christian Church. He was a member of both the Knights of Pythias and the Masonic Lodge.

Today the building that housed Wilsonís shop is owned by Victor Andersen, a blacksmith for over 60 years. One of the few remaining smithies in the Southland, he comes from his home in Orange each morning to open the shop at 7. Clients bring gates, lamps, even exercise equipment for him to mend using the traditional old tools plus modern welding equipment.

Blacksmithing once involved repairing farm equipment and shoeing horses, but now horses are shod by professionals who generally go to their clients by truck. Now that Tustinís orange groves have been replaced by houses, there isnít much farm equipment left to repair, but the tin-roofed, barn that houses Andersonís shop is a jumble of items waiting to be repaired.




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