Restoration of Bally Blacksmith Shop continues

The Cook County Historical Society acquired the Bally Blacksmith Shop property in August of 2013, thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society Legacy Fund. There has been a lot of work done at the Bally Blacksmith Shop over the past few months. The short-term goal has been to remove the contents of the 1911 wooden blacksmith building in order to prepare to stabilize it. That work is nearly completed.

Stabilization and some restoration work on the structure will continue this summer. The Historical Society has hired Doug Seim as construction manager. Seim has a background working with historic structures. He will oversee the process of making the blacksmith shop safe for a future as a museum. The long-term goal is to preserve this significant place for generations to come.

Drew Johnson, who is cataloging the historic artifacts at the site, was especially pleased when the cleanup crew found an old business ledger from 1920.

The Historical Society will also soon be asking the community to share stories of their experience with the Bally family and work that they’ve done. The history of this site affected all of Cook County’s past, and the historical society wants to be sure to gather as much information as it can about the three generations of Bally blacksmiths.

To share your stories, or to learn more about the project, visit the Historical Society website at


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald