1887 Changing the Numbers

February 2

Groundhog Day is celebrated for the first time across the U. S. Punxsutawney Phil does see his shadow. Six more weeks of winter is predicted. The Shop stays steady through the cold winter. Not super busy, but certainly enough work to carry them through. Young Joe is still home with his parents. He goes door to door trying to sell insurance. He hates it, but it it will due until he can get back on the road singing and dancing.

March 22

Spring arrives with a very large repair of a steamship. They need stack work, gauges and a new bilge pump chamber. Joe is happy to have it. The pump chamber is similar to their still work. They’ve made them before, but this one is a good bit larger. Joe, Martin and two helpers work on the chamber while, the rest of the work is divvied up between the remaining crew. Meanwhile, Young Joe has rejoined his troupe in New York. Musician Joe is quite happy to be back on stage where he belongs.

May 27

The Shop finishes some distillery parts for a company in Virginia and one in Georgia. These out of state jobs are largely due to Martin. He is friendly with a few men in the industry. Through them, he has put the word out about Joseph M. Kavanagh, Coppersmith and Joe’s work has backed it up. Joe’s area of operation is expanding to the South. The parts are made and then shipped by train to their destination. They are not stills which would take a great deal of freighting, but Joe hopes to get to that eventually. They send out the valves, fittings and sundry and move on to the next day.

June 7

The Pennsylvania Steel Company purchases land in Sparrows Point, MD to build a blast furnace.

July 18

A very busy hot week begins. Joe has received an order to build and install a still in Southern PA just across the state line. This is complicated, but Joe is excited to further expand their area of customers. The build begins today and the install will be next week. It’s a 40 gallon unit with all the assorted fittings, valves and man-holes. Martin takes the lead on this project while Joe works on a small ornamental church rail. Martin has come a long way from the young waif who first worked with his uncle. Joe’s proud of him but still leery. Martin is young and headstrong.

August 6

James and the Brooklyn Kavanaghs return to Baltimore for a visit. Just for a week, but the family is happy. Most of all, Alice, their matriarch. She has her three boys and her girl together again in her home. She must have recalled almost 40 years ago, when they took that long voyage across the Atlantic.

September 3

The crew finishes a long week on this Saturday. They are getting more calls for still repairs, mineral water apparatus work and kettles. Every day seems to bring more and more into the Shop. Joe is very excited. His name is clearly becoming known. Joe is proud, certainly, but mostly anxious to push his company further along. He wants this business to grow and be a source of security for his family. His mother, himself and his nephews and nieces. Joe hopes to have another nephew to join his crew in a few years. He gives thought to waiting through the winter for any more hires. He nixes that idea and instructs Martin to find two more able-bodied men.

September 12

The City of Baltimore has officially begun a re-alignment of sorts. The center and dividing point of Baltimore becomes Charles and Baltimore streets. This requires the changing of street numbers all across town. 16 W. Lombard Street becomes 708 E. Lombard Street. Despite the change in address, the workers are unfazed. They have copper to shape. Things to make.

October 12

Martin takes a train to Atlanta. He will take some measurements for a potential 40 gallon still. A local crew will do the install. Martin gets all the necessary numbers and notes. He offers a price and spends the night. The next morning he is headed to Baltimore with a signed agreement to make their still.

November 18

The newly numbered 708 E. Lombard St. building is full of work. Joe is pleased as his crew finishes the Atlanta still. Martin and three men haul the still to the train station in the Shop’s wagon. Joe has plenty of work to do and a lot scheduled through the winter. His confidence is growing. He knows he has a very good crew. He has the right building and the right location. Baltimore is a great city for distilling. The Maryland rye is still the most popular in the country. There will always be customers, but eventually they will all have stills. Leaving only service and repair. By moving into other markets, Joe has a great opportunity. The Shop has a great opportunity. Joe is less concerned than ever at the approaching winter.




Grover Cleveland is the President. The Navy begins leasing Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a base. The first female mayor in the U. S. is elected. Susanna Salter in Argonia, Kansas. The cornerstone of Stanford University is laid. The National Institute of Health is founded. Chico Marx is born. Walt Whitman dies.

There are 38 states in the Union.

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