2006-07-29 / News

Blacksmiths To Make Fence for Vet Memorial

Dave Schmidt, who is in his second year as a blacksmith for the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop on Market Street, makes a barn hook. Keeping history alive, he and others will perform their craft Saturday, August 5, during the 22nd annual Benjamin Blacksmith Convention. Dave Schmidt, who is in his second year as a blacksmith for the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop on Market Street, makes a barn hook. Keeping history alive, he and others will perform their craft Saturday, August 5, during the 22nd annual Benjamin Blacksmith Convention. This year's project for the 22nd annual Benjamin Blacksmith Convention Saturday, August 5, on Mackinac Island is to begin making a wrought iron fence for the city's war veterans memorial in the city park.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, visitors can see firsthand how the skilled craftsmen create their art at the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop on Market Street, part of a Mackinac State Historic Parks program. They are welcome to interact with the craftsmen.

A few blacksmith participants have already logged more than 12 hours in designing the 30-foot-plus fence, said Dennis Bradley, a local blacksmith who has been involved in the convention since its inception. He operated the blacksmith shop on Market Street for 15 years.

Participants must design the fence, which includes posts, rails, and pickets, and measure each section appropriately to allow the fence to fit on the city park, which is directly behind the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau, between Market Street and Main Street.

Similar fences can be seen throughout the Island, such as in Marquette Park, at Fort Mackinac, and at the blacksmith shop. Last year, the group worked on fences for the Mackinac Island State Park, and spruced up some of the tools in the Benjamin Blacksmith shop.

Robert Benjamin and a partner bought the Star Blacksmith Shop on Mackinac Island in 1885. The shop remained in the Benjamin family and in operation until about 1965. The Benjamin family donated the shop to Mackinac State Historic Parks in 1968. It is now operated as part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks' Historic Downtown attraction, with demonstrations held seven days a week in the shop, from early June to late August.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2006-07-29 digital edition