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This Changing World

The Columns of Will Ball



Jim Foley, who had a grocery at one time on Broadway, in part of the room now occupied by Kresge’s, at another time, on the north side of the market just west of Third—had a team of ponies which were especially bad when it came time to be shod; McCaffrey, another grocer on 6th and Broadway, had another.

 John Meyer, 516 North Street, father of the man who still operates a shop at the same address, is the only man who would try to shoe either of these teams, as well as one or two more owned in town.  Meyer had a sling made so that the animal could be hoisted off the ground by means of a heavy canvas passing under its belly.  Then its feet were anchored fore and aft.

 John always had an audience when either the Foley or McCaffrey teams were to be shod. It took about three men to handle them.

 As we all know, there are few horses to be shod today.  The directory lists a few blacksmiths in the rural communities who probably care for the few still left.  Tom Corcoran, who has a shop on Clifton Avenue, looks after the saddle horses around town.

 Fifty years ago there were probably twenty in town, plus as many more throughout the county.  The John Meyer shop at 516 North is, so far s we know, the only place in town still occupied by a blacksmith shop although the methods used now  are vastly different from those used by the first John Meyer.  John, Jr., tells the writer that he has his forge lighted nearly every day but most of his work is done by means of acetylene torch, with which he can do work undreamed of by his father.

 Some may recall the names of the old timers who made the welkin ring with the clang of their hammers long ago.  Besides Meyer, there were John Thompson, and John Shaver on 6th Street, to say nothing of Jackson’s Wagon Shop in the three story brick building between North and High and the Kreider shop where the Coca Cola plant is now.  Mort Elliott occupied the room where the Weiland Restaurant now stands; Jack Regan had a shop in the alley back of his home at 523 North, where he used to shoe the fire department horses.

Arthur Finegan, father of Walter Finegan, the pain and wallpaper man, began his apprenticeship with Wm. H. Keiser in the two story brick building on the south bank of the Wabash on the east side of Burlington.  He was 15.  He later had his own shop on Chippewa, now Linden, just east of Sycamore, now North Third; later in the alley where the rear of the A & P now is.

 Then there was Henry Klinsick, at the north end of the 3rd Street Bridge, over the Wabash.  He was the father of Fred Klinsick.  There was Nick Klein on North 3rd St; Joe Aman on Burlington Avenue; Chris Eckert on 3rd; John Wagner, and a dozen others whose names we have forgotten.

 Speaking of forgetting, we did forget George Schaefer, who had a shop for many years at 500 North Street.  He used to shoe Coleridge, the pacer.

 Last week’s story about the almost forgotten art of blacksmiths brought reminders from friends that we had overlooked some who were prominent in early days.

 One of these was John Deboo, whose shop was in the rear of 510 Broadway, according to a city directory of 1883.  We are not sure but we believe Elias Winter had his shoe shop at the same address on Broadway.  Quite fitting, it would seem:  a man could leave his team with Mr. Deboo in the rear and go to Mr. Winter at the front, thus having their underpinning repaired at the same time on the same lot.

 Another one of these old timers was August F. Busjahn, father of the late Dr. Frederick A. Busjahn and John Busjahn, the druggist, and grandfather of Miss Marie and Edwin Busjahn.  Mr. Busjahn had a partner named Gustave Asmus, the firm name being Busjahn and Asmus.  Their place of business was, according to the same directory, on the west side of 6th Street, first door south of the Eel River, which would locate them directly across the street from the Forest Mill which stood for many years where the Central Fire station is now.  This building was used for a store room for the Aldrich factory at one time.  Later, Philip Pollard, who became one of Logansport’s most prominent citizens, remodeled it and used it for a residence.  He later built the splendid brick house on Seventh and Market, now occupied by Mrs. Alice Keller.


Logansport Press, August 27, 1950

Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April, 2009

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