Henry Gillett, Lenexa’s first blacksmith

Henry Gillett is considered to be the first blacksmith shop owner in Lenexa. He also owned a hotel where the Lenexa Senior Citizen Center and parking lot are now located on the southeast corner of Walnut St. and Pflumm Rd.

Photo of Harriet (Aunt Hat) and Henry Gillett at 9344 Haskins St. on the Lenexa original townsite. Original: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/lhs/id/835

Photo of Harriet (Aunt Hat) and Henry Gillett at 9344 Haskins St. on the original Lenexa townsite.
Original: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/lhs/id/835

Gillett's Blacksmith Shop: Henry Gillett Circa 1870s. Walnut Street and Pflumm Road Lenexa, KS Original: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/lhs/id/1085

Gillett’s Blacksmith Shop: Henry Gillett Circa 1870s. Walnut Street and Pflumm Road, Lenexa, KS
Original: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/lhs/id/1085

This is likely the second version of Henry’s shop. Legend has it that he built his first shop of green cottonwood, and that after one season of the summer sun shining on the boards, they were all shaped like watering troughs.

Gillett’s Blacksmith Shop (right side of photo) on Walnut St. in the 1870’s. The two story white building is the Trail Inn Hotel, built by Levi Newcomer in the early 1900’s.

Image courtesy Google Maps

Image courtesy Google Maps

Today’s view of Walnut St., Lenexa, KS, which is now home to the Lenexa Parks & Recreation building, Lenexa Community Center and Lenexa Senior Citizens Center.

For more information about how Lenexa got its start, see Johnson County Museum’s article “Lenexa: Birth of a Town” on the JoCoHistory site: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/alb/id/344.

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