From San Diego Union Tribune
Saturday April 20, 1991
supplied by John Howard Bandy

And Grape Day Park, with luck, will be where the village smithy stands

By Mike Barge

ESCONDIDO - The hammer and anvil may not fall silent after all.

The Tom Bandy & Son Blacksmith Wheelwright shop, which has thrived in downtown Escondido since 1908 and was threatened with extinction, has been granted a stay. The Historical Society has agreed to rebuild the original shop, which was torn down years ago in favor of the metal building that house the business at 219 N. Kalmia St. The metal building will go, but Phil Ewing, who has owned and operated the Tom Bandy & Son Blacksmith Wheelwright shop since 1967, may move to Grape Day Park and become a part-time instructor when the Historical Society recreates the concrete block building along the park's Heritage Walk.

Norm Syler, executive director of the Historical Society, said the Society also is discussing with Palomar College the possibility of offering a blacksmithing and wheelwrighting course at the replicated shop, with Ewing as instructor. "I really think it's going to happen," said Syler. "One part will be for a historical exhibit, and one part will be a teaching area." Grape Day Park currently contains a number of historic buildings, including the former Santa Fe Railway depot, the city's original library and a Victorian house.

Syler said surviving members of the Bandy family plan to donate Tom and Albert Bandy's original equipment and desk for the exhibit. Syler added that he hoped Palomar College and Ewing could offer a course that would operate two or three days a week, adding a live exhibit to Grape Day Park's Heritage Walk.

Theo Mollgaard, community service program developer for Palomar College, said the college is exploring the possibility of sponsoring the blacksmith class as an extension course. She said the course would have to attract enough students to pay for itself. Ewing has supported the notion of teaching such a course, saying he sees it as a way to keep his ancient art alive.

The re-creation of the blacksmith shop at the park has a number of bureaucratic hurdles to clear, including approval by the city's Historical Preservation Commission and the City Council. Syler said the project has already attracted the support of influential members of the community, including Councilman Kris Murphy. Syler said a number of people have already offered to donate their ser vices to make the project feasible.

The city has leased the property beneath the blacksmith shop to convert into a parking lot for HomeFed bank, which is being moved from it present location at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Escondido Boulevard to Valley Parkway and Broadway.

Update received May 2004

The original building was torn down but a facsimile was built in Grape Day Park in 1993 by the Escondido Historical Society. Although the building was newly built, it has much of the original, early 20th century equipment. Phil Ewing who worked with the Bandys now teaches classes in beginning and intermediate blacksmithing through Escondido Adult School. Classes have been going on for 10 years now! No classes are offered during the summer as its too darn hot here for working over a forge, but 10 week sessions are offered on Saturdays each Fall, Winter and Spring. Check out our website to see a picture of the shop @ We are about to launch a fund raising drive to add an extension to the shop which will house a wheel wright shop where Phil can demonstrate and teach wheelwright techniques too. Wendy Barker Executive Director Escondido Historical Society

Debbie Sitlington advises us that the Blacksmith shop was moved to the heritage park and the land is still in the Bandy Trust that is owned by my Aunt Allene (Bandy) Robinson, my other Aunt and my Mother.