Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Let's take a peek inside the Green Family Forge, Trinity

When Ada Green approached the Trinity Historical Society in the 1990s about opening her family’s forge, abandoned since it closed almost 40 years earlier, as a museum exhibit she never could have dreamed that today it would be a working forge once again.

The Green Family Forge has operated in some way since the 1700s. The current forge was built around the turn of the century to replace an older forge. It is unusual because of its size, large enough to have two fires. Though people often associate forges with agricultural tools, the Green Family Forge also supplied metal parts, including anchors, for the fishing industry in Trinity. When it closed its doors in 1955, all the blacksmith’s tools, some of them homemade, were left inside and remained untouched until the forge reopened as a museum in 1991.
Green Family Forge, Trinity NL. Photo by Dale Jarvis, 2019.
Current blacksmith Wade Ivany transformed the forge from a static exhibit into a living history museum based on a social enterprise model. Today, as a member of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Green Family Forge makes and sells letter openers, candle holders, fireplace pokers and more with the help of apprentice blacksmith Devin Hookey. These sales help to keep the forge operational.

Blacksmith at work, Green Family Forge, Trinity, NL. Photo by Dale Jarvis, 2019.

But to the blacksmiths and the members of the Trinity Historical Society, it’s not about the money. It is about passing on valuable traditional skills which have been in decline for half a century. Jim Miller of the Trinity Historical Society says, “those living history skills of the trades are very important to us overall for our operations and will be, I think, going into the future. That seems to be the market now where visitors are even wanting to see those things demonstrated and, even more so, wanting to take part.”

Visitors watch blacksmith Devin Hookey at work, Green Family Forge, Trinity, NL. Photo by Dale Jarvis, 2019.

The Green Family Forge is open from April to November and is one of the must-see tourist attractions in the Trinity area. Visitors are encouraged to stop by and watch a demonstration by the blacksmiths working to keep this tradition alive. To learn more about blacksmithing in Newfoundland and Labrador, check out this episode of the Living Heritage Podcast.


The Living Heritage Podcast is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum
professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the
community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.
Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

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