Postville Blacksmith Shop is located 32 miles southwest of Madison Wisconsin, 10 miles west of New Glarus and 6 miles east of Blanchardville. It is the remains of a one-horse town formerly known as Stewart WI. Now a hamlet of 8 houses, two farms, the town hall and the blacksmith shop, Postville is a relic of days when towns were located close enough for a trip to town and back, by horse and wagon, between chore times.
Norwegian immigrant Andrew Tompson opened the shop in 1856. He shod horses, repaired wagons, sharpened tools and performed general smith work. The second owner was a Swiss immigrant- Carl Blaser, who ran the shop from 1915 until 1969, doing similar work but adding gas and electric welding. Carl sold the business to Robert Bergman who moved to the area from New York State.
By then the farm trade, especially the horse and wagon work had dwindled to nothing. "Carl told me the trade was dead when I asked to buy the place," says Bergman, "I felt a trade that had existed for 2000 years wasn't going to end so fast. I had to find a new direction to apply it." The new direction was ornamental metalwork.
In 1994 the original building became too small for the larger commissions that were being accepted. A 4000 sq. foot industrial building was erected with two overhead bridge cranes. In 1999 a 3000 sq.ft. Machine shop addition was added. Today the Postville Blacksmith Shop produces ornamental gates and railings, furniture, tools for the blacksmith trade and does subcontract forge work for many well-known shops across the U.S.
Photo left: The Fifth Annual Greeting from Edward Liljedahl, General Merchandise, Stewart, WI
Former Postville Blacksmith Shop owner, Andrew Thompson - circa 1910