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The Old Hard Shoe: 1939

The Old Hard Shoe: 1939

June 1939. "Ruins of blacksmith shop. Virginia City, Madison County, Montana." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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It's a joke!

The town blacksmith was John P Uren, born England about 1850, died Montana 1928. Remove the periods and the two words become "Up Uren". John P. Uren would have made a nice Shorpyite.

The sign seems to have held up well in the 11 years since the owner’s death.

[Yes, it's a joker's hand. There's no doubt about it. -tterrace]

What a Bonanza!

I'll bet that Ben Cartwright used to hang around that place.

[The Ponderosa was big, but it was a far piece from Montana. -tterrace]

Child’s footprints

We used to make those on chalkboards. Make a fist and press the side with your pinkie on the chalk board and rub very slightly. The impression looks like a foot sole. Then take your finger and make the five toes. Looks just like a baby’s footprint. Although I think this jokester used paint?

U.P. Uren?

I should hope so!


I could tell from the first glance that there was a small gift hidden in this photograph. A few seconds later, there it was: the line of child's footprints across the board over the window. This vision of delicate absurdity breaks the paralyzing stillness of the old photograph like a cast stone breaks the stillness of a pond.

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