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Bainbridge’s 200-Year-Old Blacksmith Shop Now Owned by Conoy Township

A blacksmith shop in downtown Bainbridge that dates to the early 19th century is now owned by Conoy Township.

The township aims to preserve the historic building, perhaps arranging for demonstrations of blacksmithing.

Shortly after signing the paperwork to sell the building, Wayne Brooks described how his family came to the area.

Brooks said he was born in Vermont in 1935. His family moved to Conoy Township in 1942 because his father, Richard Brooks, got a job at what became known as Olmsted Air Force Base putting turrets on B-17 bombers.

Brooks said his father bought the blacksmith shop during the war. It was in bad condition at the time.

“When he borough it, part of this wall had collapsed,” Brooks said, indicating the back wall of the building.

His father repaired the wall and put a new roof on the building. There had been a target marked on the front wall of the building for spitting tobacco at.

A 1984 article from the Lancaster New Era is in the shop, describing how then- 83-year-old Richard Brooks was still working in the shop. Wayne Brooks said his father continued to work in the shop until he died in 1991.

In 1996, the roof collapsed under a heavy snow; that has since been replaced. Brooks said the current brick floor of the shop is something he installed; it had originally been a wood floor. His father replaced that with a concrete floor; Brooks said he replaced that with brick.

Before the Brooks family owned the building, it had many years of use by various blacksmiths. Brooks gave the township a folder with various historic documents describing the previous owners.

Township supervisors agreed to buy the building for $97,500 at their October meeting. The paperwork to complete the sale was signed Monday, Nov. 4.

Steve Mohr, chairman of the township supervisors, said it is important for the township to own the building to make sure the area’s history is preserved.

“We’re sure glad it’s here to stay,” Mohr said.

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