Wednesday Sep 28 2011
Pioneer Village blacksmith finally hangs up hammer
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
After 16 years of volunteering, Ed Tanner scales back his duties at the village
It’s not a hidden secret that volunteers help Folsom flourish, and after 16 years, one such volunteer is passing on the baton to the next generation. Ed Tanner, 78, has lived in Folsom with his wife, Beverly, 69, since 1996. The couple both began volunteering in Folsom within the year. Tanner, a professional metalsmith for 43 years, volunteered to help blacksmithing and teaching at Pioneer Village in the Historic District in the fall of 1996. “The mayor at the time was looking to reopen the village, and my wife saw an ad in the Telegraph,” Tanner said. “So I responded and became a volunteer.” He stayed with the historic village for 16 years, watching the city land become managed by the Folsom History Museum. To keep it alive, Tanner and his wife even ran Pioneer Village for six years on a city memorandum of understanding (MOU) until the museum took over management. “We are saving history here,” Beverly said. “We want to preserve the history of what went on here in Folsom for our future generations. And that’s what Pioneer Village offers, a little glance of what was here.” Folsom History Museum Director Mary Mast said Tanner helped keep Pioneer Village thriving for so many years. “He inspired me to be enthusiastic about the possibilities of Pioneer Village,” Mast said. “His love for the village, and in particular blacksmithing, is just inspiring. His love and dedication to keeping it open is amazing. There are few volunteers that would do what he would do.” Melissa Pedroza, Folsom History Museum’s education and tour coordinator, has worked with Tanner for school tours at Pioneer Village. “Ed is amazing,” she said. “His dedication to Folsom and Pioneer Village is unforgettable. Everyone is Folsom should be grateful to the job he has done.” Pedroza said with Tanner’s help, young new volunteers are taking over the blacksmithing role at Pioneer Village. “Pioneer Village will continue to thrive,” she said. “We have plans to enhance the exhibits to better tell the story of Folsom.” Tanner said even though he is retiring, he will not be too far away from the village. “I plan to get new blacksmiths to come in and help volunteer with the place after I leave,” Tanner said. “I will still go down there to help, but not as much. I plan to stay in Folsom. We want to get our kids involved now with the history of Folsom, blacksmithing and volunteering.” He said he hopes to see the history of Folsom preserved for future generations. “I’d like to see it grow with more and more people volunteering and visiting the area,” Tanner said. “We’d like to see it remain there and continue to promote the history of Folsom. It’s really the heart of our community.” Beverly said even though they are slowing down, they will always stay involved. “It’s a known fact that people who volunteer are happier and live longer,” Beverly said. “We do this together for the better of our community. You need to keep yourself out there.” For more information on volunteering at Pioneer Village, call (916) 985-2707.