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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Anderson in Anderson County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

McGee Harness Shop

 
 
McGee Harness Shop Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
1. McGee Harness Shop Marker
Inscription.
The McGee Harness Shop was located on the corner of West Benson Street in downtown Anderson. Mr. James L. McGee was listed in the 1905 Anderson City Directory as a dealer in stock, buggies, wagons, and harnesses. By 1910, the small shop located at 131 West Benson Street was part of the Davis Brothers Livery and Boarding Stables which provided horses, mules, vehicles and harnesses, and was open 2 hours a day.

By 1925, Elias and Willis McGee became owners of the Davis and McGee Mule Company, which ran a multi-purpose facility with a harness shop, stables, livestock sales and wagon dealership. Their address a 129-130 West Benson included he office of Dr. E.R. Vendergrift, a veterinarian surgeon.

In early 1940's, the West Benson Street business was owned by the McGee Brothers (J. Willis, T. Elias, and Wayne L.). There was a harness shop, livestock sales and wagon sales. At the same address were the offices of Mr. Samuel Cathcart, an architect, and U.S. Selective Service System Board #5.

By the early 1950's, the McGee Bros. had to remove the harness shop because of the widening of Murray Avenue and the tools were placed in what had been the empty living quarters of a blacksmith at the McGee Farm in Starr. At that time, the current harness shop structure was converted from living quarters to a working
McGee Harness Shop Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
2. McGee Harness Shop Marker
harness shop. The placement of the tools and the actual arrangement of the room are authentic to this period of time.

In the fall of 2004, the harness shop was moved from the McGee Farm and reconstructed at the Anderson County Museum.

The harness shop was a vital part of a community at the turn of the century. The harness shop and blacksmith shop were essential elements of a thriving town. Whenever someone rode a horse, drove a buggy or hitched a team to plow a flied, they were using leather straps to "harness" the muscle power of the animal so humans could control it and use it for productive work. In the age when animals still provided most of the power for farmers and transportation, the welfare of the community depended on the skill of the craftsmen who know now to work leather. The harness maker used specialized tools to repair broken harness or "tack" and manufactured new equipment when necessary.

The harness has four basic functions:
  1. It allows the horse to pull the carriage (collars and traces)
  2. It provides a braking mechanism (saddle, tug loops, belly bands)
  3. It provides a stabilizing mechanism (breeching and holdbacks)
  4. It provides a steeling mechanism (bridle, bits and reins)

Given in memory of T. Elias McGee and in honor of Ethiel McGee by their children.
 
Erected by
McGee Harness Shop Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
3. McGee Harness Shop Marker
Children of T. Elias and Ethiel McGee.
 
Location. 34° 30.583′ N, 82° 38.9′ W. Marker is in Anderson, South Carolina, in Anderson County. Marker can be reached from East Greenville Street (State Highway 81). Click for map. Marker is located near the rear parking lot of the museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 202 East Greenville Street, Anderson SC 29621, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Frierson School House (within shouting distance of this marker); Robert Anderson Memorial Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Reformer (within shouting distance of this marker); James Lawrence Orr (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Orr Monument (about 300 feet away); Boy High School (about 300 feet away); "Old Reformer" Cannon (about 300 feet away); Girls High School (about 300 feet away); Virginia "Jennie" Gilmer (approx. 0.2 miles away); Anderson County Library (approx. mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Anderson.
 
Additional comments.
1. McGee Purchases Harness Shop
Mr. J.L. McGee has purchased the Livery and Sale Stable business of the late Mr. Peoples, and will continue the business at the old stand on Benson street. He has also purchased
McGee Harness Shop image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
4. McGee Harness Shop
the stock of buggies, wagons, etc., of the estate, and will continue to supply the demand in that line of business. Mr. McGee has had considerable
experience in handling stock, and, being possessed of plenty of energy and pluck, is bound to succeed. The readers of the Intelligencer will hear from Mr. McGee next week. (Source: Anderson Intelligencer, March 27, 1890.)
    — Submitted October 28, 2012, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
McGee Harness Shop and Blacksmith Shed image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
5. McGee Harness Shop and Blacksmith Shed
McGee Harness Shop Overhead Sign image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
6. McGee Harness Shop Overhead Sign
Blacksmith's Shed image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
7. Blacksmith's Shed
Blacksmith's Shed -<br>Interior image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, May 2, 2011
8. Blacksmith's Shed -
Interior
J.L. McGee Harness Shop image. Click for full size.
By Anderson Intelligencer, 1896
9. J.L. McGee Harness Shop
James Leonidas Tombstone<br>September 10, 1864 - October 30, 1929 image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, January 31, 2012
10. James Leonidas Tombstone
September 10, 1864 - October 30, 1929
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 733 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   9, 10. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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