Remembering the work-life in a blacksmith shop
The Main Street program through the state of Louisiana has been allowing towns of all sizes across Louisiana to preserve their heritage and maintain the buildings that have been the cornerstone to their existence for over the past century.
One more re-claimed landmark is almost complete now on South State Street that held its more prosperous and useful times long before the advent of the calculator and computer.
Sam Guarino’s Blacksmith Shop sits in an old cedar plank building in between the Abbeville Police Department and Star True Value Hardware, across from the parking lot of Gulf Coast Bank. Inside are anvils and machines, along with tools and fittings that have been rusting for at least one generation of working equipment, if not longer. Even as the passing of the local blacksmith shop loomed, many of the tools of the trade were already converted to operate using electricity.
While today’s modern tool shop uses computers to program cuts into rods of steel to create fittings, botls and nuts, the anvil and forge were the methods used yesterday to help make daily life easier. Cutting tools used belts that practically ran the length of the building for their power. Specialty cutting machines were used to create decorative moldings for houses or to design a piece to make a wagon cart more stable.
The tools of the trade are being cleaned up and organized for viewing into another piece of history for Abbeville and Vermilion Parish. Signs are being installed to explain what jobs the tools were used for and what the life and job of a blacksmith were all about.
The Blacksmith shop will only be open by appointment through the Abbeville Main Street office of Charlene Beckett at 898-4110.