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Sunday, June 14, 2020

The case of the missing blacksmith shop photo

The August Braeutigam Blacksmith Shop, around 1895,
which was at the east corner of Water and Quinlan streets.

Years ago I received an email asking if I had a photograph in my collection of an old Kerrville blacksmith shop. The sender was kind enough to send along a scan of an article Herbert E. Oehler wrote for this newspaper on July 12, 1976, with the title “Son of a Pioneer,” about August Braeutigam.
August Braeutigam
Braeutigam opened a blacksmith shop here in Kerrville at the east corner of Water and Quinlan streets in 1885. The blacksmith shop site is part of the parking lot of Entertainmart today, just across Water Street from the library campus.
Unfortunately, I’d never seen the image he wanted, though I wished I could help. I filed the request in my rusty mental file cabinet, knowing photographs taken before 1900 were quite rare in Kerrville, and there was little hope in finding the image.
That changed this week when some friends at Wells-Fargo came across a stack of old Kerrville photographs, and shared them with me. Among the images was the photograph of the old blacksmith shop.
Herbert Oehler wrote the story this way:
“When August Braeutigam established his blacksmith shop at the corner of Water and Quinlan Streets in 1885, he was no amateur in that craft. He had practiced his trade since 1869, and had owned shops at three other locations in Texas and one in California before coming here.”
Nellie Braeutigam
The family lived next door to the shop, “and Mr. L. A. Schreiner and A. C. Schreiner lived across the street,” according to a family history I received. The family lived and worked there for another thirty years.
August and his wife Nellie had one child, a daughter named Annie. She married J. L. Pampell, the founder of Pampell’s, which was on the corner of Water and Sidney Baker streets. Pampell’s was a drug store with an old-fashioned soda fountain when I was a child. Like most people my age, I have very fond memories of Pampell’s, of the Hood family who owned it when I was young; of Emmie Kneese, who made the world’s best milkshakes; and of Virgie Morris who kept my favorite chocolate bars in stock in gleaming glass cases near the front door.
“Milton Pampell, August’s grandson,” the family history says, “recalls days when as a young boy he would watch his grandfather at work. Milton was given a small leather apron to wear and never was allowed to come into the shop without shoes on in order to protect him from the sparks wile forging the iron and the cinders that might be found on the ground.
Annie Braeutigam
“Mr. B. L. Enderle remembers well when he grew up in Kerrville how the freight wagons would stop at the Braeutigam blacksmith shop. ‘Mr. Braeutigam, a beloved gentleman, would service and repair the wagons while a hired hand would shoe the horses.’”
August Braeutigam was elected an alderman to one of the first Kerrville city councils, back in 1890 – 1893.
The photograph of the old blacksmith shop is quite interesting, and the quality of the image is surprisingly good, given how old it is. August Braeutigam can be seen leaning against the topped-off tree, wearing a leather apron. I particularly like the advertisement above his right arm which reads “Wagons/ Studebaker/ Carriages.” My best guess is the photograph was taken in the 1890s, though the fire hydrant on which one of the other fellows is sitting might suggest a later date.
“Tire Shrinking/ Horse-shoeing/ Plow and Wagon Work” is painted in large high-contrast letters on the side of the building, on the side toward the Town Creek bridge. This is notable because that’s the direction from which wagon freight traffic would have passed on its way to the downtown Kerrville area. By the time Braeutigam opened his blacksmith shop, freight to and from San Antonio traveled by rail. But all freight west – to Ingram, Hunt, Mountain Home, Junction, or Rocksprings – would pass directly in front of Braeutigam’s shop.
August Braeutigam died in 1916; his wife Nellie in 1942. Both are buried here in Kerrville, at Glen Rest Cemetery.
Thanks again to the kind folks at Wells Fargo who shared this photo with all of us. Yes, I’ve sent a copy on to the Braeutigam family member who requested it years ago.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who loves old photographs of Kerrville. If you have one you’d care to share with him, he will be happy to scan the image and give you back the original. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times June 13, 2020.

1 comment:

  1. Joe 'Master Sleuth' Herring Jr. Born NOT in Germany but just the same. ;-)


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