Well into the 1930’s folks depended upon horses and horse drawn wagons and buggies for transportation. Blacksmiths were very important to every day life. They were talented with metals and iron and experts when dealing with horses. They could repair or make almost anything of metal, such as buggies, sleighs, and wagon wheels. One of the earliest documented blacksmiths in Follansbee was Raymond Walker whose occupation was listed in the 1908 Follansbee-Wellsburg City Directory.
In 1913, E. A. Bole’s blacksmith shop was on the corner of Main and Raymond streets. Harry Kemp was Manager. E. A. Bole advertised in the city paper, offering services such as horse shoeing, wagon repairing and wood work. He also bought and sold second-hand wagons. George Chansky also operated a blacksmith shop on Allegheny Street.Photo - Follansbee Review 1912
Nicholas Hindman of the Tent Church community operated a blacksmithing and tool making business on the Tent Church road for nearly a half century. In 1931, the Follansbee Review reported that on one of his last visits to town he stopped by the newspaper office and presented the editor with a valuable carving knife that he had crafted.
By the mid 1930s blacksmith shops declined as horses were replaced by automobiles. Poet Bessie Wheeler’s poem remembers the era of the blacksmith.“The blacksmith shop stands by the side of the road, Where it’s stood most a century before, But its doors are closed and its roof is sagged. And the anvil will ring no more.”
- Follansbee Review, “Editor Gets Knife,” July 30, 1931, p. 1.
- Follansbee City Directory – 1908-1910, See Raymond Walker, Kirk & Reffner, 1908, WVU Archives.