Categories: Business

Anvil Academy: Teaching Oregon’s at-risk youth  old trades

Empowering Oregon kids by teaching them classical skills

written by Mark Stock | photography by Joni Kabana

Tucked away in an inconspicuous building on Main Street in Newberg is a small trade school bringing Wild West ingenuity back to the Willamette Valley. The Anvil Academy teaches at-risk youth the seemingly dated skills of stagecoach building, blacksmithing, jewelry making, leatherwork, metal spinning, woodturning and sewing. Classes in bow-making and the art of wheelwright are coming soon.

The Academy started in early 2016, but the impetus came much earlier. “Really, it started twenty years ago when I met a guy who came out of the highest level of the aerospace industry,” said Anvil co-owner and teacher Rob Lewis. “He said that the kids coming out of college could draw anything on a computer, but they had never drilled a hole in a piece of metal.”

A student won Best in Show at the Oregon State Fair for his quarter-scale mud wagon. These smaller, lighter, open-sided stagecoaches took on bumpy backroads amid bad weather, able to zigzag up and down the many mountain ranges of the American West.

Lewis said the kids are what keeps Anvil’s wheels rolling. “College is not for everyone, and a lot of kids have an aptitude for what we do, even though initially they have no idea they may be good at something.”

Anvil’s coaches take about three months to build, on par with the factory-built versions during their heyday. Every April, the Academy hosts the largest horse-drawn vehicle auction on the West Coast at Yamhill County Fairgrounds, with proceeds benefiting youth education programs.

Small Pleasures

Sustainable Salvage for Cool Furniture

Share
Published by
Kevin Max

Recent Posts

Four Picks for Gelato

written by Jen Stevenson PINOLO GELATO  Tuscan technique meets Pacific Northwest ingredients at this deliciously authentic Division Street gelateria, where…

5 days ago

Heart of the Valley Homebrewers Festival Supports Food Share

written by Aliya Hall Despite starting as a hobby, Heart of the Valley Homebrewers in Corvallis has turned a passion…

5 days ago

Eem — Smoked Meats and Vacation Drinks

written by Jen Stevenson It’s hard to argue with a restaurant concept that promises “smoked meats and vacation drinks,” and…

5 days ago

The Tintype Photographer

photography by Joe Kline Look through an old family photo album or peruse a historical society or museum, and you’ll…

6 days ago

When the Liberty Bell Came to Oregon

In 1915, the Liberty Bell came to Oregon as part of a patriotism-raising event in the lead up to WWI.…

1 week ago

Wild and Romantic Outdoor Getaways

Getting outside can be an aphrodisiac— turn up the heat this summer with an outdoor adventure written by Kevin Max…

1 week ago