Old blacksmith shop full of storiesby
Trew Ranch blacksmith shop, a relic of the 1920s, stood for 75 years before a
wind storm left it beyond repair. The old hand-mixed concrete foundation and floor
served another 30 years before being uprooted by bulldozer.|
structure was built in a T shape with the top bar of the T to the west. The site
had a slope allowing the bottom of the T pointing east, to be raised above the
ground the height of a wagon bed floor. This elevated room was the McMurtry Ranch
salt block storage shed holding about a boxcar load of salt blocks.
top of the T to the west was a long narrow room with double barn doors opening
to the south and allowing a wagon to be pushed inside for shelter or repair. The
north end of the room contained a blacksmith forge, a coal bin, anvil on a stump,
wall-mounted post drill, a workbench, a wall for hanging hand tools and a galvanized
tub to hold water to cool the heated iron. Almost any ranch or farm equipment
repair could have been managed with this equipment.
The middle of the
lower shank of the building sported two open carportlike roofed areas where teams
pulling wagons could enter and park them under shelter, be unhooked and driven
on to the stable located in another ranch barn. Harness was kept in the stables
in a protected room.
The concrete was poured with a mixer filled by men
with scoops shoveling creek sand and Portland cement. The concrete forms were
made in 4-foot sections for both the foundation and the floor. Walls of the building
were made of vertical 1x12 boards with the cracks covered with 1x4 bats. The roof
was covered with wooden shingles.
All roof ends of all the ranch buildings
were hipped as the thinking was, hipped roofs didn't catch the wind like a gabled
roof. The old ranch house was white stucco, had a peaked, tee-pee type roof that
was very steep to shed the rain and snow. All roofs were painted charcoal color
with other building walls and corrals painted barn red. This old original line
camp for the McMurtry Ranch was called Red Camp at one time.
A Rock Island
Railroad boxcar sitting on concrete blocks at truck-bed height served as a cake
house. The bunk house that housed the old time ranch cowboys for many years is
now a guest house. An Eclipse windmill on a wooden tower pumping into a cypress
water storage tank, all painted white, provided water for both man and beast.
Mr. McMurtry was very proud of this camp at the time we purchased the ranch.
the years have taken their toll on the old original structures, repairs and upkeep
have kept all in good shape. Although modern in every way today, the ranch still
looks almost like it did in the good old days.
I'll bet that old blacksmith
shop could have told some mighty good stories if it could have talked.
"It's All Trew" November 25, 2008 Column
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