Blacksmith and harness shops were as essential 100 years ago as auto mechanics and service stations are today. In Yreka, California, they included the Swan & LeMay Carriage Making and Blacksmith Shop and a firm known as Nehrbass & Harmon Manufacturing, Blacksmith, and Wagon Makers.

The Swan and LeMay shop was located on the northeast corner of Miner and Main Streets. The business was described in 1891 as “Blacksmiths and carriage makers, and dealers in agricultural implements … This is the largest shop of the kind in town and their trade extends all over the county.”

L. Swan, who came to Siskiyou County in 1851, designed and built coaches that traveled regional stage roads for many years.

Nehrbass & Harmon, located at Second and Center Streets, declared in an advertisement, “Fine carriage or wagons made or repaired on the shortest notice. They do horseshoeing and blacksmithing … and deal in iron, steel, horse and mule shoes ….” John E. Harmon bought out Nehrbass around 1885 and ran the business as Harmon and Harmon for another 46 years, 16 of them accompanied on the premises by his dog, Duke.

Source: Siskiyou County Historical Society. The Siskiyou Pioneer, 1976 (vol. 4 no. 9), pp. 42-45.

— As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at