Dunn's Mountain blacksmith shop named for Chuck Barringer
By Shavonne Potts
Hiking up the trail that extends from Dunn’s Mountain is no easy task, but once atop, the view is well worth the trek. It’s a view Charles “Chuck” Barringer would have appreciated.
Barringer, a well-known member of the community and longtime Scoutmaster, died in November 2006. On Saturday his family and others who knew him well gathered atop a trail at Dunn’s Mountain Nature and History Preserve to dedicate a blacksmith shop in his honor.
Barringer died after falling from a ladder while pruning trees at his church, Shiloh United Methodist in Granite Quarry.
He struck his head on the pavement and never regained consciousness.
Blacksmithing ran in Barringer’s family. His father, John Thomas Barringer, was a blacksmith, and so was his father-in-law, Arthur Lefler.
Reminiscent of blacksmith shops of old, the display is complete with authentic equipment used or made by Lefler, Barringer or his father, John.
The Charles D. “Chuck” Barringer Blacksmith Shop faces south to keep out strong winds and welcomes the daylight.
The day was also a welcome end to a Barringer family reunion. The family generally gathers at the Barringer home each year. Chuck Barringer always organized the family day, and this year his wife, Martha Ann, continued that tradition.
Barringer’s brother, Dick, coordinated with park staff to have the dedication coincide with the reunion, Martha Ann explained.
Martha Ann summed up the way many people felt about her husband.
“Chuck was a wonderful man,” she said.
She noted that it was appropriate that the Scouts helped build the structure.
“He would be really proud,” she said.
Barringer’s youngest son, Michael, called the tribute “very meaningful.” Of the setting, he said, “Dad really would’ve loved it.”
He told everyone his dad would’ve been awestruck by the shop and the view.
“He’d give it a classic ‘My Lord,’ ” Michael said to laughter.
Dick and Georgia Kimball, Barringer’s cousins from Atlanta, said they didn’t realize how much he did in the community, and both said they think his service was great.
Barringer was active in a number of civic organizations and causes, including Relay for Life, Granite Quarry Civitans, United Negro College Fund and March of Dimes.
He had been Scoutmaster of Troop 379 for 48 years. Scouts from Troop 379, along with various others, helped with construction.
Franklin Merrell took over as Scoutmaster of Troop 379.
“It’s a wonderful way to remember a heritage,” Merrell said.
Also a Civitan member, he’d known Barringer for 30 years.
Merrell talked to the crowd, hammer in hand, about Barringer’s work with the Scouts, detailing how he shaped, tempered and finished the Scouts just as a blacksmith does metal.
Throughout the years, Barringer had influenced hundreds of young Scouts, his own sons included. Merrell said he thinks of how, as the next generation of boys become men, Chuck’s influence will continue.
“These boys who were brought up under Chuck are now bankers, lawyers, ministers and dads,” Merrell said.
Jack Kepley, a member of the Central North Carolina Boy Scouts of America’s board of directors, called the shop “a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to Scouting.”
The shop is not the only structure named for Barringer. He served on the East Rowan YMCA board of directors and also as board president of the Rowan County YMCA for 10 years. In August 2007, the Saleeby-Fisher YMCA named a picnic shelter the Chuck Barringer Memorial Shelter.