Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Sexsmith Blacksmith Shop is a one-storey log building with a gable roof situated on a single lot one block north of the town of Sexsmith's principal commercial street. The shop contains thousands of original tools and machines of the blacksmith's craft.
The heritage value of the Sexsmith Blacksmith Shop lies in its representation of a typical village blacksmith shop in early Alberta. Blacksmithing was an essential craft in the early settlement period and vital to the development of Alberta's agricultural economy. The village blacksmith was called upon to shoe horses and oxen, sharpen plough shares, and repair tools and machinery, among other tasks.
The townsite of what would become Sexsmith was created in 1916 during the construction of the Grande Prairie branch of the Edmonton Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway. The blacksmith shop was one of the fledgling community's first buildings, erected by Dave Bozarth in 1916. From 1920 until 1928, Bozarth ran the shop in partnership with Nels Johnson, a Swedish immigrant and trained blacksmith. In 1928, Johnson took over the shop and operated it with consummate craftsmanship for the next five decades.
Sexsmith Blacksmith Shop is an outstanding example of an early Alberta blacksmith shop. A typical log building of the early settlement period, the shop is one of the most complete industrial/archaeological sites in Alberta, containing thousands of original blacksmithing tools and machines - many of them locally made and most still in working condition. Remarkably intact, the shop offers rich insights into the blacksmith's art, a once vital craft now largely unpracticed in the province. The site is particularly significant for the clever and resourceful construction of instruments, like the drill powered by a Model T Ford transmission, and the presence of a foundry for casting metals, a rare and important service for the waves of settlers who came to the Peace River country, Alberta's last agricultural frontier, in the 1920s. The site's integrity and uniqueness have also made it a significant local landmark in Sexsmith.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1149)
The character-defining elements of the exterior of the Sexsmith Blacksmith Shop include:
- form, massing, and style;
- wooden gable roof with vent cupola, gable-end coverings, and chimneys;
- round logs with saddle-notch joins;
- style and arrangement of windows and doors;
- lean-to with gabled roof;
- "Blacksmithing Welding" signage featuring black background and white letters on one side and white background and white letters on the reverse.
The character-defining elements of the interior of the Sexsmith Blacksmith Shop include:
- floor plan, lack of interior partitions, secret compartments for alcohol;
- exposed rafters and support beams;
- collection of blacksmithing tools, such as anvils, foundry, and shoeing box;
- collection of blacksmithing machinery, such as power hacksaw, pedestal grinder, drill, trip hammer, and associated belts.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Technology and Engineering
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Metal Products Manufacturing Facility
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1149)
Cross-Reference to Collection