Description of Historic Place
The Walters Blacksmith Shop is a turn-of-the-twentieth century wooden construction, gable-roofed, structure located at the corner of Kempt and Montague Streets in the Old Town Heritage Conservation District in Lunenburg, NS. It is one-and-a-half storeys on the Kempt Street façade and drops to include a lower storey on the Montague Street façade. The surrounding property is paved for industrial use. There are additions on the north and east ends of the building. It has retained original large windows and wide barn doors. Designation includes both the building and surrounding property.
The Walters Blacksmith Shop is valued for its industrial architecture, its use a forge until 2005, association with the Walters family, and its role in the local shipbuilding industry, including the construction of the famed “Bluenose.”
Thomas Walters bought the land in 1893 and erected the main portion of the building soon after. The rear extension was added in 1902, and the lean-to additions were added in 1924. The appearance of the building reflects its functionality and it has not been altered substantially from its original form. Large windows close to the street level illuminate the work area as well as display the blacksmith's products. Large doors in the gable end allow access to storage areas, and those on Montague Street are easily accessible for loading purposes.
The Walters Blacksmith Shop is a key building in the industrial area of Old Town Lunenburg, where many craft shops relating to shipbuilding are still located. The Walters Blacksmith Shop is one of two blacksmith shops in the area, and has been in continuous use by the Walters family since 1893. The Walters Blacksmith Shop has the distinction of being the shop chosen to do the 'shipsmithing' (ironwork) for both the original “Bluenose” and “Bluenose II;” the "HMS Rose” and the “HMS Bounty” replica. Both the “Bluenose” and “Bluenose II” are Nova Scotia icons with strong connections to Lunenburg, and have been immortalized on the Canadian dime.
Source: Town of Lunenburg, Heritage Designation File, 66400-40-31
Elements that define the character of the Walters Blacksmith Shop reflect its long use as a forge, and its industrial architecture features, including:
- location of the shop in the industrial area of Old Town Lunenburg and in close proximity to both the waterfront and fellow small craft businesses relating to the shipbuilding industry;
- all interior features that relate to the blacksmith craft, including the two forge structures with brick chimneys, storage and display areas for products and equipment, the massive wooden plank floor in the front portion of the building opening onto Kempt Street, hooks and hardware made at the forge, the portion of the ship's mast formerly used to support the trip hammer used by the smith;
- all exterior features that relate to blacksmithing, including the large eight-over-eight windows on Montague Street and nine-pane window on Kempt Street allowing visibility for both passersby and the smith, and the louvred cupola allowing ventilation at the roof peak;
- all features that relate to typical industrial architecture in Lunenburg, including the shingled wall surface, painted with a deep grey paint and barn-red trim, the large double barn doors set in the gable end, smaller barn doors on the Montague Street facade allowing accessibility to goods, as well as in this case for horses and larger merchandise, and the massive stone foundation of the main building.