Thursday, July 26, 2007

Get to Know the Tin Man of Goshen!

For more than fifty years, the Tin Man has stood as a beloved landmark in locations between Leeds and Goshen, Massachusetts. Today this icon is known as the “Tin Man of Goshen” and has stood at its current location, overlooking the Good Time Stove Company and Route 112 in Goshen, MA for more than fifteen years. He has become a fixture in New England travel and has even received notariety as a national treasure among America’s great legacy of roadside attractions and landmarks.

Blogs & Online Articles

Feature in Yankee Magazine
New England Life & Travel
Boston Globe Magazine
Appearance in Zippy the Pin Head Comic

The Tin Man was the brain child of local resident and business ower, Don Affhauser.

Hampshire Engineering Service - Makers of the Tin Man of Goshen

Don Ahhfauser conceived of the Tin Man in the mid-1950s. His basement housed a small, but growing, business specializing in duct work. It was here that Don first decided to construct the tall roadside attraction to draw attention to a his new business and demonstrate the technical prowess of the Hamshire Engineering Service (HES) staff.

Hamshire Engineering Service - Don Affhauser, creator of the Tin Man of GOshen

In the coming two years Don grew HES and constructed a small building in Leeds, MA. to accommodate the demands of his budding business.

In moments of spare time, Don Affahuser and his staff members designed, drafted, constructed and erected the roadside Tin Man, 1958. Hampshire Engineering Service served the heating needs of Leeds, FLorence, Northampton, and Williamsburg, Massachusetts for about ten years. The Tin Man stood as a proud symbol of friendship, warmth and excellence in a small town community.

Click Here for a Historical Photo Tour

Read the Articles
Introduction to Hampshire Engineering Service Staff, 1958.
Hampshire Egineering to Move from Basement to Building, 1958.
Personalities You Should Know Better, 1960.
Shell Oil Company is Happy, Joins with Lennox, 1962.
Shell Oil Appoints Lennox Authorized Dealer, 1962.

Shell Oil Appoints Lennox Authorized Dealer, home of the Tin Man of GOshen

The Tin Man was welcomed into the warm and spirited community. Prominently positioned roadside at 574 Haydenville Road in Leeds, Massachusetts, the Tin Man extended his hand in friendship to the young and the old alike. Immediately upon erection, the Tin Man attracted business and began building a wide network of family and friends who would pilgrimage annually to visit.

tin man of goshen

Read Hazel Magner’s Family Story

Meet Some of Our 2007 Visitors

Many times the Tin Man was the subject of jokes and fun including halloween pranksters dressing him in giant shorts ad a family of birds who nested in his mouth. More serious offenses included the the theft of arms. According to Don Affhauser, his arms including hands and insturmets were stolen and replcements fabricated “no less than ten times.” In 1960, the Tin Man was relocated to the roof of the the Lenox building to escape future vandalism.

The Tin Man Sports Shorts, 1965.
Tin Man Solves Housing Shortage
He Wuz Robbed, 1958.
Tin Man Offers His Hand, 1958.
Roof Top Tin Man Avoids Vandals, 1960.

Following the closure of Hampshire Engineering in 1977, the Tin Man transferred ownership to Elbert Ulshoeffer, a resident of Dennis, Massachusetts. Ulshoeffer was one of those many admiring children who never outgrew his love for the Tin Man. “The Tin Man is a monumental thing for a kid. How’d you like to run into him some dark night,” said Ulshoeffer.

To Ulshoeffer, the Tin Man was “a piece of American folk art” with some very special features, for example, the counterweights that had been put in his jaw so his mouth would open when the wind blew.

A few years after Ulshoeffer took the Tin Man home with him came a fateful, hot August day, a time of year when the tin man would heat up in the sun and wasps would nest inside his head. But neither hot metal nor wasps could keep away the teen-agers who took a hacksaw and cut off the tin man’s head. Ulshoeffer remembers hearing a noise in his back yard, then seeing a car speed off down a dirt road. He and his three boys found their tin man had been beheaded. “We all had a good cry that day,” he said.

It was more than Ulshoeffer could stand to see. “For me, it was destroyed without the head,” he said. He decided to negotiate a trade with Goshen antique stove restorer Richard Richardson. Ulshoeffer needed some stove grates from Richardson who could take the tin man in trade.

To Richardson, a collector of old pieces in his own right, the charm of the Tin Man, even if it was headless, was immediately apparent.

tin man of goshenUlshoeffer had no way of knowing that seven years later his father-in-law would find the long lost head - sitting atop another oil company, this one in Chicopee. Ulshoeffer reclaimed the head from the owner of the company, a landlord who had happened to. rent an apartment to the vandals, who left the tin head behind when they moved out.

Ulshoeffer decided that in the interest of keeping the tinman whole, he would turn over the head to Richardson With the tin man’s real head returned, he was moved back to Goshen to guard another craftsman’s shop.

Read the Entire Story of His Resair and Restoration: A Strange Story of the Collision Coincidence and Destiny

Stove Black Richardson, who owns Good Time Stove where the Tin Man now resides, says the steel figure has brought “a lot of joy and happiness to anyone who’s ever been involved with him…Everybody should have a heart.” tin man of goshen

With this in mind, a friend of Richardson’s, Tammy Lee Sweet-Grave of Greenfield, suggested that it was time for the Tin Man to have a heart. She worked with tin knocker Thomas Fern of Chesterfield to create the steel frame, and had the glass cut to fit. Fern has mended the Tin Man in the past.

Tin Man Gets His Heart

As the current caretakers of this icon, Sara the Stove Princess and Richard M. Richardson take their obligation to the Tin Man of Goshen very seriously. We welcome and encourage your stories and photos, history and input as we seek to document his life and times.

Please contact Sara the Stove Princess via email or telephone at 413-268-2677.