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This is a contributing entry for Fort Kearny State Historical Park and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Reconstructed in 1964, the Blacksmith and carpenter shop at Fort Kearny served a vital role for the soldiers as well as the Overland Trails travelers. The Blacksmith produced and repaired all manner of metal implements used by the soldiers and travelers, worked on the wagons and shod the horses and mules. Likewise, the carpenter was responsible for lumber in use here as well as the construction and repair of the fort itself. The carpenter was often called on to build the soldiers’ footlockers, which the soldier had to obtain for himself. The Blacksmith/carpenter shop was available to all travelers on a first-come, first-serve basis to repair their wagons and make shoes for their animals.

Land lot, Rural area, Iron, Human settlement

Grass, Property, Branch, Tree

Inside the Blacksmith shop

Wood, Hardwood, Beam, Log cabin

Grass, Wood, Property, Land lot

Overland Trail emigrant wagon

Land lot, Wagon, Rural area, Spoke

Grass, Land lot, Plain, Grass family

Inside the Blacksmith Carpenter Shop

Iron, Spoke, Spinning

Inside the Blacksmith Carpenter Shop

Iron, Spoke, Metal, Brick

Inside the Blacksmith Carpenter Shop

Iron, Beam, Metal, Light fixture

Inside the Blacksmith Carpenter Shop

Wood, Iron, Beam, Hardwood

Entrance sign

Brick, Sculpture, Brickwork, Gas

The Blacksmith-carpenter shop first appears on an 1866 plan of the post although it must have been in existence at a much earlier date since such a building would have been one of the first needed at a functioning military post of the day. Measurements taken from posts discovered during archeological excavations indicate a building size of 35' by 70' corresponding approximately with the 30'6" by 72' dimensions indicated on the 1866 plan of the Fort. This building would have had a sod roof and adobe brick walls.

This reconstructed building is built to specifications taken from these excavations. Locations of the Blacksmith area, carpenter area, forge and scrap piles were identified to assist in the reconstruction.

Tools of the two trades and a working forge are on display inside the shop. On summer holiday weekends, volunteer Blacksmiths are invited to demonstrate their craft to visitors.

Grange, Jr., Roger T. Digging at Fort Kearny. Nebraska History, vol. 44101 - 121. Published January 1st 1963.