For more than 60 years, W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop in Rices Landing, Greene County, produced parts for local coal mines, two World Wars and workers on the nearby Monongahela River. In the mid-1960s, the last family members retired and closed the shop, leaving behind hand tools, belt-driven lathes and other equipment, even the timesheets of the workers. They're all still there, as if waiting for the workers' return, in this century-old wood-frame building.
Next weekend, as part of the Rices Landing Riverfest, caretaker George "Bly" Blystone of Waynesburg will give shop tours and blacksmiths will give demonstrations in the foundry. Mr. Blystone, 66, said he got involved at the urging of George Kelly, a master mechanic and owner of Point Auto in Waynesburg who died seven years ago.
"It's kinda hidden history.... George was a buddy of mine and he taught me what he knew. I couldn't let it go because I couldn't let him go," Mr. Blystone said.
At 4 p.m. Friday and noon next Saturday, members of the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association will give demonstrations of their craft. In April, the association held a hammer-in at the shop. Mr. Blystone will give tours to visitors throughout both days of the festival. There will also be concerts, paddling on the river, crafts and food sold by local vendors and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. next Saturday.
All events are included in admission: $10 in advance, $15 at the gate Friday, $2 for children on Saturday, $5 for adults. Mr. Blystone often opens the shop on Sundays; check the W.A. Young Foundry page on Facebook for details. For group tours of the shop at other times, contact Rivers of Steel National Heritage Corp. at 412-423-8687 or www.riversofsteel.com.
Kevin Kirkland: email@example.com or 412-263-1978 First Published June 1, 2013 4:00 AM