Commentary

Depot forges link to the past

Blacksmith shop new attraction for historic site
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

James Powell, master of ceremonies, conducts dedication ceremony for recreaton of 19th Century blacksmith shop, constructed by volunteers Gary Jackson and Louie Edelmon, as modern-day blacksmith Rudy Billings looks on from inside shop. James Powell, master of ceremonies, conducts dedication ceremony for recreaton of 19th Century blacksmith shop, constructed by volunteers Gary Jackson and Louie Edelmon, as modern-day blacksmith Rudy Billings looks on from inside shop. The clang of metal on metal has joined the horns of trains and the rhythm of tracks at Rockdale's histor ic depotmuseum.

On Saturday the Rockdale Historical Society dedicated its restored, fully-operable blacksmith shop during its living history day Saturday.

The depot is a recreation of the Frank Dockall-John Timmerman blacksmith shop which opened in the Gay Hill community before the turn of the 20th Century.

Original equipment from that shop, along with equipment donated by the families of blacksmiths Julius "Bose" Moultry, Charles Stolte and Harrison Lanham, is on display inside the recreated structure.

That equipment got a workout Saturday from members of the Balcones Forge blacksmiths organization of Austin and a couple of special "volunteers."

Irma Doss, 96, and 90-yearold Minnie Timmerman Chalfant, who operated bellows in the Dockall-Timmerman shop as young girls, each got a turn at the crank.

Irma Doss, 96, used to turn the bellows crank in the blacksmith shop of stepfather Frank Dockall 90 years ago. She did it again Saturday. Depot recreation has some of that shop's original equipment. Irma Doss, 96, used to turn the bellows crank in the blacksmith shop of stepfather Frank Dockall 90 years ago. She did it again Saturday. Depot recreation has some of that shop's original equipment. There was much more on tap during the cloudless, 65-degree fall day.

Flint knappers Ab Woods and Paul Unger showed how stone tools were made in the really old days.

Antique military paraphernalia were displayed by Les Davenport and Doug Davenport.

Candle maker April Ford displayed her specialty, much to the delight of several bees who found the sweet-smelling melting beeswax too pungent to resist.

Inside the depot, browsers got a final chance to see the "Ten Tall Texans" exhibit, based upon the life and works of the late State Representative Dan Kubiak.

The display is being moved to Madisonville next month.

And retired railroad man Glen Banzhaf gave a demonstration of signals using the depot-museum's working signals located near the blacksmith shop.

A sign honors blacksmiths; right, flint knapper Ab Woods. A sign honors blacksmiths; right, flint knapper Ab Woods. Banzhaf is the grandson of George Banzhaf, who was Milam County Agent from 1910 to 1946.

Historical society volunteers, clad in period garb, kept another fire going throughout the day, selling sausage wraps and other food and drink.

Webelo scouts in Pack 789 began the dedication ceremony with a flag-raising.

Balcones Forge blacksmith group donated $1,000 to the Rockdale Historical Society. Sue Murray, Balcones Forge president, made the presentation to society president Dave Phillips. Balcones Forge blacksmith group donated $1,000 to the Rockdale Historical Society. Sue Murray, Balcones Forge president, made the presentation to society president Dave Phillips.


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2009-10-29 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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