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Sexsmith, Alberta, T0H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/10/28

Sexsmith Blacksmith Shop Provincial Historic Resource, Sexsmith (June 2001); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2001
East and south elevations
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/06

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.

Heritage Value

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)

Character-Defining Elements

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.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Metal Products Manufacturing Facility

Architect / Designer



Dave Bozarth

Additional Information

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

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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