Friday, November 19, 2010

'Hometown History' from the La Crosse Public Library Archives

Link to November 15 La Crosse Tribune article, "La Crosse's last blacksmith shop closed down in 1949".

Excerpt:  Manke's shop on the North Side was a popular gathering spot for neighborhood kids who would watch with fascination as the master blacksmith shod as many as 200 horses in a single day.

The advent of the automobile slowly put an end to Manke's horse-shoeing days. Ironically, he remained in business by fixing broken truck, bus and car springs instead. Area farmers would also come into his shop when they needed a plow point sharpened or a wagon part fixed. Manke especially enjoyed this kind of work because it was more like traditional blacksmithing


Lewis Atherton's Main Street on the Middle Border (1954) provides an evocative description of the era in American history when 'the horse was king'.  (LINKcat has 2 copies:  Madison and Portage.  Great reading for lovers of social history.)

In fact, here's an outline of a section of chapter 2.  (I read the book for pleasure in the late 1970s.  No, really!)

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