Bally Blacksmith Shop

Three generations of the Bally family worked as blacksmiths. Sam Bally, whose skills were crucial to the lumber industry, arrived in 1903 to work for a sawmill. In 1911 he started his own business and built the long-standing Bally Blacksmith Shop that we see today.

Upon Sam’s passing, the family business went to his son Albert an electrical engineer and army veteran. He eventually passed the shop to his son Bill. Bill and Albert worked at the shop together for decades, and it was a very active site until the 1990s. Many in the community have fond memories of Bill, Al and the Shop.

Through its repair work, the Bally Blacksmith Shop has chronicled Cook County’s economic history progressing from horse-drawn lumber camp equipment to motorized commercial fishing rigs to tourist automobiles and snowmobiles. The building represents utilitarian, commercial, false-front architecture, which once lined the streets of small towns. It is one of very few original blacksmith shops that remain in Minnesota and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thanks to a Legacy grant from the Minnesota Historical Society, Cook County was able to purchase the Bally Blacksmith Shop in Grand Marais. One of only two such shops left in the state, it is a cultural treasure. The Cook County Historical Society is working to transform the site into a history attraction for the public to enjoy.

For more information about the Blacksmith Shop, restoration plans, and upcoming events, visit the Cook County Historical Society website at