W.H. Dickson was born in Tennessee in 1840 into a free black farming family. During the Civil War, he served with Texas in the Confederacy, and following the war he settled in Springfield where he first worked as a wagon maker and later as a blacksmith.
For a short period of time in the early 1890s, he worked as an undertaker and embalmer and had a blacksmith shop in the back of this building on North Fountain Avenue, shown here around 1895.
Not long after this, the building was demolished to build a new downtown YMCA, which opened at 15 N. Fountain in 1899, just behind Black’s Opera House, which was later replaced by the Fairbanks Building at the corner of Fountain and Main.