C.M. Hill, Blacksmith

Last week we left off in 1892, with C.M. Hill’s new brick blacksmith shop in Messina, and the start of some competition with the construction by Will Jones of a blacksmith and carpenter shop on Linville Avenue (Pacific Avenue) “next to the meat market.”

This Will Jones was William Henry Packard Jones, son of Henry H. Jones. The elder Mr. Jones died in 1892. More research needs to be done to trace what happened to the Jones shop.

In the Citrus Belt of March 23, 1893, one can see a healthy competition arising between the Messina and Highland business districts. C.W. Davis announced a new blacksmith shop in the building recently built by W.F. Grow at Main and Center streets. (See page 47 in A Pictorial History of Highland.) This was in competition with the C.M. Hill’s blacksmith shop in Messina.

In 1899, with the consolidation of Messina and Highland, Hill moved his blacksmith shop to Center Street (Block A, Lot 28) across from Ah Sing Chung’s restaurant. Hill’s home was also on Center Street.

Mr. Davis at some time made an addition to his building, and in 1907, Mr. and Mrs. Green moved from Redlands to Highland, purchased the business and opened a garage in that addition. The number of automobiles was really increasing. Highland had 14 at that time. Mr. Davis retired, selling his home to C.H. Rohrer, and moved to Long Beach where he had “considerable property.”

Another blacksmith shop owner about 1906, was John Ellsworth. In 1908, he returned from a trip to the north with the announcement that he had purchased a blacksmith shop and would be moving north.

William Landen, left his shop in D Street and purchased the Ellsworth shop “on Palm Avenue” but by 1909, he was “back at the old stand” on D Street. Unknown, at this time, is what happened to the Ellsworth shop, or if it was originally the Jones shop.

In 1927, C.M. Hill, blacksmith in Messina/Highland for 33 years, retired and in July “disposed” of his business to Arthur Gonzales.

Mr. Hill remained in Highland and celebrated his Golden Wedding anniversary in 1933 with his wife, Ella Jane Banta Hill. C.M. Hill died in 1934 and Ella followed in 1944.

Art Gonzales operated the blacksmith shop until “the prevalence of automobiles did away with the blacksmith business here.” Newspaper records show that he was “in business” at least until 1928. He was still listed in the 1940 Census as “blacksmith.” Arthur also figured prominently in Highland’s Volunteer Fire Department.

Hill’s blacksmith shop on Center Street, which had become an eyesore, was demolished in 1940.

There was no “spreading chestnut tree” (maybe a large pepper tree), but the village smithy(s) stood until our love affair with the “motor,” and the advantages of trucks and tractors made the blacksmith, as we knew it, disappear into our history.

But look up “Iron Works Highland” you’ll find several.

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