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Pioneer Tradition Carried On At Tuttle Blacksmith Shop
Red Apple Bulletin - Wednesday, August 8, 1990, p.4

The original blacksmith shop was reported to be the first business in New Plymouth, owned and operated by Walter Burke who charged 25 cents for the first job. It was located on our main street (Plymouth Avenue) on the Van Patten Lumber site (next to Western States Printing).

In 1905, there was a 400 foot break in the new irrigation canal and all farmers, knowing their crops and livelihood depended on the irrigation water, gathered with their teams of horses and slips to work together to repair the ditch. Walter Burke closed his blacksmith shop and moved all his tools and equipment to the ditch site to keep all the equipment repaired as they worked on the ditch. Mr. Burke advertised his blacksmith shop and that he was the "maker and inventor of the Famous Remarker" which met with ready acceptance and was used in all this area.

Tuttle Blacksmith shop carries the name of Ray Tuttle who came with his family in 1893 from Dunshore, Pennsylvania. His first job away from home was working for Harry and Walter Pence where he was called "Doc" because he was always fixing and repairing machines and tools. Then while in the army he got his blacksmith training and he shod many horses and mules; deciding that this was the occupation he wanted to pursue.

In 1919, he went into partnership with Ray Chatfield and bought tools and supplies for blacksmithing. In 1920 he bought Ray Chatfield out and rented the building until 1926 whenhe purchased a building that was originally a livery stable and the oldest original building in New Plymouth. It had been used for a hardware store and later a fixit shop. Ray bought the building from Reverend Knight and moved it to its present location on Maple Street. A lumber yard and a garage were on either side of the blacksmith shop at that time. An addition was added in 1950.

Many special jobs were done in this blacksmith shop. Ray loved horseshoeing. During the month of December 1922 he shod 107 horses along with general repair and welding work. He did several special jobs for Dr. Pompa that made the doctor's job easier. (Dr. Pompa started his practice here in New Plymouth and went on to gain national recognition of his work with cancer and MSTI in Boise.) One job Ray did was making a needle extension and another was a horseshoe-shaped object to attach weight for correcting a broken leg.

In 1951, Ray first started making cutting slats in mowboard which were better than the manufactured ones.

Tuttle Blacksmith did business all over the northwest, LaGrande, Woodburn, Oregon, and eastern Idaho, and everywhere in between.

Ray Tuttle and Armoral Faulkner were married by Reverend Knight on June 1, 1921. They had three sons, Gene and Ralph Tuttle, who both reside in Boise, and Larry, who resides in New Plymouth. Armoral devoted most of her life to helping our community to get a library and making it bigger and better.

Martin Platz was a helper in the successful shop as was Charles Lockner who had lost a leg in a threshing machine accident. Lockner functioned with a wooden leg he fashioned himself after not liking the "boughten" one.

Another good and loyal employee has been Paul Funk who is still employed by Tuttle Blacksmith. Larry Tuttle took up his father's trade after he was discharged from the Army in 1948 and continued helping his father. Larry took over the shop in 1966 when his father's health forced him to quit his loved lifetime work. Larry's wife, Nadine, took over the bookkeeping for the shop then too. Larry retained ownership of the shop until 1988 when he sold the shop to Dave Clyde. Dave carries on the traditional role of the community blacksmith and promises to continue in the future.

The original Blacksmith Shop as it was on main street in 1919 when Ray Tuttle (on right) bought it. This shop is where the first business in New Plymouth was transacted. Also pictured is Martin Platz (left) and Mr. A.N. Faulkner (background). The building was a former livery stable and was one of the first buildings constructed in the Plymouth colony in approximately 1894-95.

The building was moved in winter of 1926 to its present location on Maple Street. Here the shop is pictured in 1927 after it had been relocated. Pictured is Irv Saxton, left, and Ray Tuttle, right.

Tuttle Blacksmith Shop as it is today under the ownership of Dave Clyde. Even today, visiting the shop is like "going back in time".

Photos were supplied by Mrs. Ray (Armoral Faulkner) Tuttle.

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