Antiques stolen from historic Tamaqua blacksmith shop

·2 min read

May 12—TAMAQUA — The theft of antique items from the historic Hegarty Blacksmith Shop last month is being investigated by borough police.

Meanwhile, the Tamaqua Historical Society, owner of the building, is offering a $500 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest or the location of the stolen items.

Dale Freudenberger, society president, said someone broke into the building sometime on or before April 24. Among the numerous items stolen were two cast iron anvils, a cast iron swage block with round and square holes cast in it, a horse's tail attached to a handle and a variety of blacksmith tools, including iron tongs and hammers.

Freudenberger said the thief or thieves also made off with a bell-shaped iron horse tether, several barn lanterns, a railroad wick lamp, a bench top grindstone and a wooden barn box, painted red with yellow striping.

Also stolen was an orange-painted wooden wheelbarrow that society members believe was used to transport the heavy items from the shop.

Freudenberger said those who stole the items crawled onto the roof, which is obscured by trees in the secluded area.

"They pulled away several boards to make just enough room for someone to crawl inside," he said.

Freudenberger said they were able to take as long as they needed because the building appeared to be locked up.

The double stable doors are locked from the inside by a large beam, just like they would be on a farm, he said.

"We never anticipated anyone breaking out of the building," Freudenberger said.

The blacksmith shop has a rich history in not only Tamaqua, but Northeast Pennsylvania.

It was built by Thomas Hegarty, who came to the United States from Kenmare, County Cork, Ireland, in 1848, and operated the business until his retirement in 1900.

The shop, at Lafayette and Nescopec streets, had been in the Hegarty family for 125 years until it was turned over to the historical society.

The shop is open for live demonstrations and tours during the borough's annual Summerfest and Heritage Festival and attracts hundreds of people to see firsthand the job of a blacksmith.

Tamaqua police said their investigation is ongoing under the direction of Patrolman Michael Weaver. Anyone with information can call police at 570-668-5000.

Freudenberger said that anyone who may have seen any of the items or knows where they are can call the society at 610-597-6722 or email him at

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