As the school year nears its end, students from Jeff Tordoff's Chariton High School Building Trades Class are putting the final touches on the exterior of a new blacksmith shop on the museum campus, situated west of the Swanson Gallery on the downslope toward the prairie bottoms.
Three of the six students who have constructed the building, thereby helping your historical society contain costs, are shown here with Tordoff (left). Kole McCormick is up on the scaffolding; T.J. Hardin, standing next to Tordoff; and Tyler Knust, on the right. Others involved were Zach Newton, Joe DeVore and Jason Kelley.
Within the next day or two, windows and doors and siding stained to match the red side walls will be installed on the front and the students' job completed. We appreciate all of the hard work the students have put in on the building --- which probably would be done by now had the weather been more cooperative.
Finishing work will continue on the inside as we look toward a September opening of the building. It will be divided into two rooms, the front (south) room serving as blacksmith shop and gallery for related displays. The rear of the building will provide a storage area --- something in short supply at the museum. The interior floors will be wood to give the building a more authentic feel --- although admittedly most early blacksmith shops had dirt floors. A concrete apron provides convenient access to the structure.
And if the village blacksmith cares to work outside, he'll be able to do so under a spreading tree --- although not Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's chesnut. In this case, the substantial tree just south of the building is a spreading pin oak.
Also on the museum campus this week, the vintage windmill framework that has been receiving treatment in board member Ron Christensen's metal-working shop after a storm-related fall has returned. What remains is to set it up, reattach the working parts up top and we'll be back in the wind business.