WHAT IS SMITHY AT ROSEDALE? 

The reconstructed blacksmith shop will depict the art and craft of blacksmithing as practiced in the 19th century.

The diaries and ledgers from Dr. David Caldwell show that the smithy shop was an important source of income for the Plantation from the 1830s onward. Even in the early decades of the 20th century, the blacksmith shop and stables occupied an important part of Rosedale’s activities. It is fitting that such an important part of Rosedale’s past should be represented, not only showcasing the methods of blacksmithing, but also highlighting the importance of metal work in the life of Rosedale and the community at large. The smithy produced carriages, parts for wagons and farm implements, as well as a myriad of iron goods for domestic use.

Importance of the Smithy

Charlotte has a long and ongoing history as an iron and steel manufacturing center. A functioning blacksmith shop will link Rosedale’s history with that of the larger Charlotte community.

The shop will be 18’ by 26’ with adequate space for two blacksmiths to work at the same time. The covered porches on each side offer viewing areas for visitors through large openings. The second floor/attic houses the custom hand operated bellows for the charcoal or coal fires as well as storage of supplies. The building will capture the feeling of a 19th century smithy shop while permitting observation of the active workers. Modern lights and safety equipment will blend seamlessly into the recreated space.

The mission of the smithy is to serve as an interpretive center of the art and craft of blacksmithing for the visitors to Rosedale, enhancing the experience of the historic site. It also will serve as a teaching center for blacksmithing. As such it provides a living link between the past and the present. Nate, the blacksmith, worked many years at Rosedale and made the andirons still in the main fireplace in the Plantation House. It is his story and that of the others of Rosedale’s past that will come to life in the recreated smithy shop on the grounds.

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