From San Diego
Saturday April 20, 1991
supplied by John Howard Bandy
And Grape Day
Park, with luck, will be where the village smithy stands
ESCONDIDO - The hammer and anvil
may not fall silent after all.
The Tom Bandy & Son Blacksmith Wheelwright shop, which has thrived in
downtown Escondido since 1908 and was threatened with extinction, has been
granted a stay. The Historical Society has agreed to rebuild the original
shop, which was torn down years ago in favor of the metal building that
house the business at 219 N. Kalmia St. The metal building will go, but
Phil Ewing, who has owned and operated the Tom Bandy & Son Blacksmith
Wheelwright shop since 1967, may move to Grape Day Park and become a
part-time instructor when the Historical Society recreates the concrete
block building along the park's Heritage Walk.
Norm Syler, executive director of the Historical Society, said the Society
also is discussing with Palomar College the possibility of offering a
blacksmithing and wheelwrighting course at the replicated shop, with Ewing
as instructor. "I really think it's going to happen," said Syler.
"One part will be for a historical exhibit, and one part will be a
teaching area." Grape Day Park currently contains a number of
historic buildings, including the former Santa Fe Railway depot, the
city's original library and a Victorian house.
Syler said surviving members of the Bandy family plan to donate Tom and
Albert Bandy's original equipment and desk for the exhibit. Syler added
that he hoped Palomar College and Ewing could offer a course that would
operate two or three days a week, adding a live exhibit to Grape Day
Park's Heritage Walk.
Theo Mollgaard, community service program developer for Palomar College,
said the college is exploring the possibility of sponsoring the blacksmith
class as an extension course. She said the course would have to attract
enough students to pay for itself. Ewing has supported the notion of
teaching such a course, saying he sees it as a way to keep his ancient art
The re-creation of the blacksmith shop at the park has a number of
bureaucratic hurdles to clear, including approval by the city's Historical
Preservation Commission and the City Council. Syler said the project has
already attracted the support of influential members of the community,
including Councilman Kris Murphy. Syler said a number of people have
already offered to donate their ser vices to make the project feasible.
The city has leased the property beneath the blacksmith shop to convert
into a parking lot for HomeFed bank, which is being moved from it present
location at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Escondido Boulevard to
Valley Parkway and Broadway.
Update received May 2004
The original building was torn down but a
facsimile was built in Grape Day Park in 1993 by the Escondido Historical
Society. Although the building was newly built, it has much of the
original, early 20th century equipment. Phil Ewing who worked with the
Bandys now teaches classes in beginning
and intermediate blacksmithing through Escondido Adult School. Classes
have been going on for 10 years now! No classes are offered during the
summer as its too darn hot here for working over a forge, but 10 week
sessions are offered on Saturdays each Fall, Winter and Spring. Check out
our website to see a picture of the shop @ www.escondidohistoricalsociety.org. We are about to launch a fund raising
drive to add an extension to the shop which will house a wheel wright shop
where Phil can demonstrate and teach wheelwright techniques too.
Wendy Barker Executive Director
Escondido Historical Society
Debbie Sitlington advises us that
the Blacksmith shop was moved to the heritage park and the land is still
in the Bandy Trust that is owned by my Aunt Allene (Bandy) Robinson, my
other Aunt and my Mother.