WHITEWATER VALLEY RAILROAD
RAILROAD INTERPRETIVE CENTER PLAN

BLACKSMITH SHOP

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WHITEWATER VALLEY RAILROAD
RAILROAD INTERPRETIVE CENTER PLAN

39.0 BLACKSMITH SHED Last Revised: September 20, 2004

Concept:

Building that could be used to interpret the role of small support buildings in the railroad industry. Key concept would be to highlight the various manual tools and methods traditionally used to straighten, create, and repair parts. The concept of how this work is done is the primary story. It is intended that this forge could be demonstrated on special events or for special groups. The second part of the story would cover why this job and function became less necessary in later years. Building would provide security and weather protection for the forge and various tools. Too often in most historic villages, the blacksmith is often focused upon as only shoeing horses. This is an opportunity to show them in the role of a experimenter, fabricator, and general repair specialist.

Interpretation Methods:

Primarily through the display of tools and the forge as well as other written wall mounted exhibits. A video display may be possible and beneficial to show both manual methods and mechanization. One hands on exhibit activity may even allow a visitor (under supervision) to work with the forge. The smell of the forge will also contribute to the experience.

General Structure Design:

A single story metal shed that can be greatly opened up would be best. Easiest solution would be to find an existing metal shed, though a replica could also be created. The total footprint area of this building is approximately 10’ x 10’. The floor of this building should remain unfinished soil or possibly gravel. A wood coal bin on the outside of this building would be a good detail. A hood arranged above the forge and a pipe stack out the top of the building would be needed. Materials used in the construction should be fire resistant. Electrical service to this shed would be desirable.

Building Usage:

Beyond general interpretive use, this structure could serve its original function to store and operate the forge for various railroad part repairs.

Priority Level in Museum Site / General Structure Complexity:

Med / Low

Special Location Considerations:

It should be located near the roundhouse complex, though the exact location is not critical to the site design. It is possible that this area could be incorporated into the roundhouse structure though fire risk makes this concept less desireable.

Supporting Artifacts Available:

The hood unit above the forge, the force and various tools are all in the railroad’s collection.

Supporting Artifacts that would need to be acquired:

If an existing older metal shed is available, this would be the most appropriate item to acquire.


The Whitewater Valley Railroad is a 501 ( C ) 3 not for profit operating railroad museum dedicated to the preservation of a historic branch line railroad, to the restoration of railroad equipment, and to the conduct of educational railroad programs.