Anderson in Anderson County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
McGee Harness Shop
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
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:
- It allows the horse to pull the carriage (collars and traces)
- It provides a braking mechanism (saddle, tug loops, belly bands)
- It provides a stabilizing mechanism (breeching and holdbacks)
- 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.
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). Touch 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. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Anderson.
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
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 •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 4, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 799 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on May 4, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 9, 10. submitted on October 28, 2012, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.