Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Acquisition of the Historic Bally Blacksmith Shop

  • Project Overview
  • Project Details

Project Overview

Recipient: Cook County

Partner Organizations: Cook County and the Cook County Historical Society

In partnership, Cook County as owner and the Cook County Historical Society as manager are purchasing the Historic Bally Blacksmith Shop property for long-term preservation. The Bally Blacksmith Shop is architecturally and historically significant as a rare and intact example of an early twentieth-century blacksmith shop. Much of the original antique equipment remains in the building. The shop's original owner, Sam Bally, relocated from Bayfield, Wisconsin to Grand Marais in 1903. He was first employed as a blacksmith with the Cook County Manufacturing Company, which established the first sawmill in Grand Marais. Bally went into business for himself in 1911, purchasing a parcel of land on Broadway and erecting the Bally Blacksmith Shop. Sam's son and grandson continued operating the business until 2009. Under the Cook County Historical Society's vision, the property will be more than a wonderful educational resource; it will also be an important economic asset to the community. As long-term interpretive goals are developed, this site will serve as an integral component of a county-wide history tour, connecting the region's historic resources in a way that is packaged for visitors. With more than a million tourists annually, this project will contribute to the county's economy and will also preserve this historic blacksmith shop for future generations to experience

Project Details

To provide funds for acquisition of the 1911 Bally Blacksmith Shop, an imminently threatened and rare property listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Fund Availability:

06/01/2013 - 06/01/2014

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, SS. 1, Chp. 6, Art. 4, Sec. 2, Subd. 5

Appropriation Language
History Partnerships. $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for partnerships involving multiple organizations, which may include the Minnesota Historical Society, to preserve and enhance access to Minnesota's history and cultural heritage in all regions of the state.

Funding Amount: $130,000

Amount of Other Funds Leveraged $231

Direct Expenses: $130,231

Project Manager

Carrie McHugh
Cook County
411 W Second Street
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Members of Recipient's Governing Body: Jan Hall (Chair), Sue Hakes, Bruce Martinson, Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble

Subject: Historic Preservation

Administering Agency

Minnesota Historical Society

Conflict of Interest Disclosed: None

Measurable Outcomes

The main outcome for this grant funded project was the purchase of the historic Bally Blacksmith Shop property. In our grant application we also had the intended outcome of stabilizing the 1911 wood structure. However, since grant funds were not received for the part of the project, we have only been able to make the purchase at this point. We have already raised nearly $10,000 in funds to go toward the stabilization efforts and are working to establish an outline/timeline for the work ahead. Our ultimate goal is to make the site a public attraction that features the Bally family history, blacksmith work and the industries it supported. Other options for the space are being explored with the help of a long-range site planning grant from the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program.

Quick Facts

Project Type: External Partnerships

Recipient: Cook County

Funding Amount: $130,000

Source: Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Status: Completed

Appropriation Years: 2013

Description of Other Funds Available upon request. Contact grants@mnhs.org

Recipient Type: Local/Regional Government

Activity Type: Grants/Contracts

Counties Impacted: Cook

MN Senate District: 3

MN House District: 3A

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.