Hoffman Brothers’ Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop was moved to South Park City from the ghost town of Leavick. Its original site was located near the Horseshoe Cirque (a steep-walled basin on a mountain shaped like half a bowl), carved out by an ancient glacier. It is a small, hand-hewn log building with a front door and a deeply set window. Its contents came from the Hoffman Ranch near the old townsite of Dudley. The blacksmith shop was an indispensable part of the mining towns and camps of the early west. The smith not only shod horses, oxen, and burros but did repair work on mining equipment, wagons and sleighs.

On display is a large assortment of the implements used in the blacksmith’s trade, such as hammers and tongs of all shapes and sizes. The tongs were used to hold the metal while it was being heated and formed. The huge forge and large, hand-operated bellows forced air through a bed of coals to make them red hot. The metal was heated to a glowing red in the very hot coals so it could be worked by the blacksmith. The metal was then taken to an anvil where it was hammered into shape. The sound of the hammering was heard all over town. A cone-shaped, metal hood hangs down from the ceiling to exhaust the smoke. Horseshoes hang on the wall; a bucket of horseshoe nails rests near the anvil; and hand-forged tools rest on shelves.

Great strength was required to become a blacksmith, along with a considerable amount of skill. He was the fascination of the youngsters in the town; they would gather at the entrance of his shop and watch him work for hours. The sweat would pour off his solid body as he flexed his mighty muscles. All the young boys wanted to “hold the rope” while the family horse was being shod, or operate the bellows, anything to be close to the blacksmith. Yes! Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Smith a Mighty Man Was He” describes the blacksmith’s trade quite well.