Forging an interest in local history

By: 
Lisa Ingebrand

Members of the Montgomery Historical Society and other interested individuals listened as Mike Hruby (far right) shared information about the blacksmithing business his grandfather Joe Hruby  started in Montgomery in 1923. (Lisa Ingebrand Photo)

Approximately 40 people gathered outside the Joe G. Hruby Blacksmithing, Horseshoe, Woodwork and Truck Bodies Museum in Montgomery on Thursday, Aug. 30, to learn about Hruby and the historical role he and his business played in the community. 

 

The museum event was part of Montgomery Historical Society’s Show and Tell series. 

 

Many in attendance Thursday evening were relatives of Joe Hruby and had memories to share, including Joe’s daughter, Joanne.

 

“I worked in the old shop when Clair was in the service,” Joanne stated. “I was about 10 or 12 years old at the time and I used to shoe horses and do other work. I had to. There wasn’t anyone else around to do it.” 

Young Joanne worked in the shop up until the week before she wed. 

 

“It was hard work, but I could do it. My mom helped, too… We did what needed to be done, and I was pretty good at it,” she commented. 

 

Joanne attended the event with her daughter, Jill Holomek Bothwell, and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Brooke Bothwell. 

 

“I did a report for school on Joe, his shop, and my grandma working there. It’s really interesting. I’m glad there are lots of people here to learn about it,” Brooke stated. 

 

Joe’s son, Clarence, helped guide his son, Mike, through the telling of the family’s local blacksmithing history. 

 

Joseph G. Hruby was born near Heidelberg, Minnesota, to Czechoslovakian immigrant farmers in 1903. 

 

At 15 years old, Joe started working at Frank Korbel’s blacksmith shop as an apprentice. He later moved to Lumberton and worked for Anton Hanzlik, who fired Joe after only two months on the job for failing to properly mount a buggy wheel. 

 

But, his spirit was not broken. Joe found a job shoeing horses for Queen N Koelly in Mankato.

 

See more in the print edition.

 

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