Fred Wagner's blacksmith shop was one of many German-owned west-side businesses providing services for horse-drawn vehicles. Wagner repaired carriages and wagons and shoed horses. Nearby livery stables rented out horses and carriages. Around the corner on Liberty, at Christian Walker's Ann Arbor Carriage Works, skilled carpenters, blacksmiths, upholsterers, and painters took pride in producing custom carriages.
At lunchtime, workmen bought beer by the bucket from nearby saloons. In 1914 the Wagner blacksmith shop was replaced by the new meeting "halle" of the Schwaben Verein, Ann Arbor’s longest-lasting German organization. The Schwaben name is still on the sidewalk and windows. By the 1920s most neighborhood businesses were serving cars and trucks instead of horses and carriages.