Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Sam Smith's Blacksmith Shop
Newhall, California

Click image to enlarge

Sam Smith, blacksmith and horseshoer, Newhall.

This 6x8-inch print is mounted on its original mat. Below the photograph is the hand-written date, 1888.

The location is not specified. Buildings were often moved around in early Newhall, but we have no reason to believe this was anywhere other than the west side of Spruce Street (later called Main Street) between Market and 8th. It would have been rather difficult to move the heavy furnaces of the smithy. In fact, as of 2013, they're still there, behind the shops that now occupy the building at 24313 Main Street.

This building was remodeled and expanded, perhaps in 1898, to look like this.

Somehow, local grocer Jim Gulley came into possession of the property. Whether it was before or after Smith's death, we don't know. Gulley appears to have started buying property in Newhall in the 1890s. In any case, in 1900, after Smith died, Gulley sold the shop, including its fixtures, for $400 to newcomer Tom Frew II, who became the town blacksmith.

The Frew blacksmith dynasty would last for three generations and 70 years — from horse and buggy days to the midcentury-modern market for artistic ironwork wall decor.

Apparently the Frew family obtained this photograph from Pearl (Pardee) Russell, because her name (and only her name) is hand-written on the back.

Further reading: The Accidental Blacksmiths Of Old Newhall by Ruth Newhall, 1996.

Footnote: Just to throw some cold water on this narrative ... In a 2003 interview, Tom Frew IV said he does not believe this is the shop his grandfather purchased. Tom IV said he does not believe this building was in the same location as his family's shop (which he ran until 1970). He speculated that Sam Smith's shop may have burned down.

However, in 1958, historian A.B. Perkins said was one in the same.

TF8801: 19200 dpi jpeg from original print.

See Also:
Spruce Street, 8th to Market, West Side

Read: The Accidental Blacksmiths of Old Newhall.
Sam Smith Blacksmith 1888

Thomas M. Frew II

Shop & Home ~1910

Back of Blacksmith Shop 1920s

Blacksmith Shop 1936

July 4 Parade 1950

July 4 Parade 1953

Tom Frew IV 2003

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