Trades That Shaped the West demonstrated in Old Town!

A Wells Fargo stagecoach takes a turn around La Plaza de Las Armas in San Diego's historic Old Town.
A Wells Fargo stagecoach takes a turn around La Plaza de Las Armas in San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Here come photos from today’s Trades That Shaped the West event, which took place in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

A wide variety of demonstrations drew curious visitors to a cluster of tents in the park’s grassy plaza. Early San Diego in the 1800’s was completely different from our modern city of gleaming skyscrapers. In many ways, life back then was both simpler and more difficult. Many household objects that are manufactured today were crafted using raw muscle and sweat. Most ordinary tasks were neither easy nor automated.

One hopes that historical reenactments like this continue for generations, so that people don’t forget the unique and meaningful lives of our ancestors.

You might notice this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about this annual event. I’m so fascinated by San Diego’s history, I decided to experience Trades That Shaped the West again!

Stagecoach Days is celebrated every Saturday in Old Town during the summer. There’s a different themed event every week!

Aspects of frontier life were reenacted today in Old Town San Diego. Visitors watch in amazement as a stagecoach passes by!
Aspects of frontier life were reenacted today in Old Town San Diego. Visitors watch as a stagecoach passes by!
History comes to life during Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There's a different theme each Saturday in July and August.
History comes to life during Stagecoach Days in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. There’s a different theme each Saturday in July and August.
Many fascinating demonstrations could be viewed by the public at the Trades That Shaped the West event.
Many fascinating demonstrations could be viewed by the public at the Trades That Shaped the West event today.
Young and old alike watched two blacksmiths at work with an anvil and small portable forge.
Young and old alike watched two blacksmiths at work with an anvil and small forge.
A wheelwright explains his craft. Wagon wheels were difficult to create, but a necessity of life in the 1800's.
A wheelwright explains his craft. To make wagon wheels required great skill. Like cars today, wagons were an important part of life in the 1800’s.
The bent metal band tyre would be expanded with heat, then contracted using cold water once carefully placed around the wooden wheel.
The bent metal band tyre would be expanded with heat, then contracted using cold water once carefully placed around the wooden wheel.
We take laundry machines for granted today. In the Old West, cleaning clothes took a whole lot more work.
We take laundry machines for granted today. Years ago in the Old West, cleaning clothes required a whole lot more work!
Irons, washboards and other objects from daily life generations ago are on display.
Irons, washboards and other objects from daily life generations ago were on display.
These ladies were weaving baskets. Basket-weaving is said to be the oldest of all human crafts.
These ladies were weaving baskets. Basket-weaving is said to be the oldest of all human crafts.
The local Kumeyaay would use willow baskets to protect their gathered acorns and other food from insects.
The local Native American Kumeyaay would use willow baskets to protect their gathered acorns and other food from insects.
This portable green forge is being used for the first time. The handle turns a belt which operates an air blower. I recognized this blacksmith from the Fall Back Festival in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
This portable green forge is being used for the first time. The handle turns a belt which operates an air blower. I recognized this blacksmith from the Fall Back Festival in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Local blacksmith hobbyists made all the items you see here, including the ornamental snake (which takes about an hour and a half to make) and the huge padlock!
Local blacksmith hobbyists created all the items you see here, including the ornamental snake (which took about an hour and a half to make) and the huge padlock!
This crafty gambler tried to entice me into playing a game of chance. Nice try!
This crafty gambler tried to entice me into playing a game of chance. Nice try!
A gentleman had a table containing old tintype photographs. He also had antique cameras on display that produce daguerreotype photographs.
A gentleman had a table containing old tintype photographs. He also had antique cameras on display that were used for daguerreotype photographs.
A new wheel is being produced by several wainwrights, trades people who make and repair wagons and carts.
A new wheel is being produced by several wainwrights, trades people who craft and repair wagons and carts. These guys belong to the California Historical Artillery Society.
A variety of useful tools and devices. Many look familiar today.
A variety of useful tools on their table. Many look familiar today.
Friendly members of the California Historical Artillery Society were demonstrating at the annual Old Town event for the first time.
The members of the California Historical Artillery Society were attending the annual Trades That Shaped the West event for the first time.
Approximate blacksmithing prices in the mid 1800's.
Sign shows average blacksmithing prices in the mid 1800’s. The prices were much higher in Northern California during the Gold Rush.
These guys also had a traveling battery forge, used by the Army long ago. Today they are often used in Civil War reenactments.
These guys also had a traveling battery forge, used by the Army long ago. Today they are often used in Civil War reenactments.
I noticed that the snake oil salesman had drawn a crowd!
I noticed that a snake oil salesman had drawn a crowd!
An old lady with a bad case of lumbago was eager to try Dr. Montbank's Tonic Elixir.
An old lady with a bad case of lumbago was eager to try Dr. Montbank’s Tonic Elixir.
I'm not sure it helped much.
I’m not sure it helped much.
A guitar, fiddle, banjo and a bottle. These frontier musicians were getting ready to provide a bit of Western entertainment.
A guitar, a fiddle, and a bottle. These frontier musicians were getting themselves ready to provide a bit of Western entertainment.
Visitors to Old Town were walking in front of the Colorado House and enjoying a sunny San Diego weekend.
Visitors to Old Town were walking in front of the Colorado House and enjoying a sunny San Diego weekend.
Look what's coming! These pack animals have transported the mail all the way from San Antonio!
Look what’s coming! These pack animals have transported the mail all the way from San Antonio!
The Overland Mail Delivery arrived exactly at one o'clock!
The Overland Mail Delivery arrived exactly at one o’clock!
I guess this would qualify as Ground Mail.
I guess this would qualify as Ground Mail.
The small Old Town encampment excitedly greets the four-legged mail carriers.
The small Old Town encampment excitedly greets the four-legged mail carriers.
Mail is handed out to many event participants!
Mail is handed out to many of the event participants!
The young folk don't seem to notice.
These creative young folk are too busy writing their own letters to notice.
An educational slice of history could be enjoyed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!
An educational reenactment of history was enjoyed today in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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