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As It Was: Blacksmith Shorty Minnick Serves His Community Well

The life of Oscar “Shorty” Minnick serves as an example of what makes a person important to a community.

Minnick came from Missouri to Central Point, Ore., in 1928, where he and his family became charter members of the Community Bible Church.  He went to work for the Peart Blacksmith Shop, run by the Peart family since the early days of Central Point.  In a few years Minnick bought the business.

As a blacksmith, Minnick shoed horses, sharpened plows, and made branding irons and tools.

During the depression, children would bring in broken toys or bikes and Minnick would do a free repair.

Many a World War II soldier and his wife were taken in by the Minnicks, who kept in touch for years. He served in the Oregon Guard and was a volunteer firefighter.

As a hobby, Minnick made fragile-looking, wrought-iron, glass-topped tables and plant stands.

Minnick tried to retire several times, but was called back to do such jobs as shoeing horses of the sheriff’s posse and framing Central Point street drains.  He finally retired in 1964, a credit to his community.

Source: "Oscar Minnick, Blacksmith Since 1929, Has Retired." Medford Mail Tribune, Feb. 1964, p. 10.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.