Hermon, St. Lawrence County
Eli Tracy of Hermon has practiced the craft of pounding iron since he was a small boy, helping his father, Charles Tracy, in his blacksmith shop. His great-great grandfather, Ebenezer Caldwell, who settled in Lisbon before the Civil War, was also a blacksmith, the first of several in the family. A trade that has changed dramatically over the last hundred years, it evolved from Longfellow’s iconic “village blacksmith” to more efficient but less poetic modern techniques. For nearly 70 years, Eli has done it all–first shoeing horses and making wagon wheels or bolts and, more recently, “blacksmith welding” broken farm equipment or simple tools. He made his living as a heavy equipment operator for several major contractors in the North Country. Eli continues to this day working at his forge for small, specialized jobs that few others can do anymore.