This article that I read from my New Yorker friend Ruth about Tavern on the Green in Central Park being a sheepfold before it was a famous tourist trap led me down a rabbit hole of all kinds of historic sheep and knitting interests.
Boston Common was once grazing land (in addition to being a public garden, and where hangings and drills and parades took place), allowing sheep and cows to graze until 1830. In November of 1931, Boston Commons hosted a sheep shearing competition, according to a Lewiston Daily Sun story. The winner from Texas sheared a sheep in 4.5 minutes.
The newspaper story mentions a “Wish it with Wool” campaign where people take a pledge to give three people all (or mostly) wool gifts for Christmas that year. It sounds an awful like the “Give Handmade” pledge, doesn’t it? I found an article in the Prescott Evening Courier urging people to support the local Arizona wool market! I wouldn’t think of Arizona as being a great place for wool-growing, since the summer I spent there it was 112 degrees for a week, but when they mentioned Mohair, it started to make a little more sense.
Our Angora Goats (where Mohair comes from) are not well-suited to cold climates, so they might fare better than the sheep in the heat. Apparently, automobiles used Mohair in upholstery!
I love reading about the history of shepherding in the US. Are you reading any good historic articles or books?