A city of the gentry? Dueling views of gentrification illustrated by ...
Built in 1846, The Portland Forge is the oldest operating blacksmith shop in the state of Maine. It is located at 58 Fore St., tucked behind a corner of the larger Portland Company — an historic, brick complex of which The Forge is a part — and down a narrow alley lined by parallel brick buildings. The shop abuts the city’s 200-plus-year-old seawall. Without a fire blazing in the forge, the lighting inside takes on the attenuated, charcoal-grays of its interior. Among the anvil, hammers and bellows and soot-stained walls, it’s easy to feel locked into pre-industrial history.
But soon Sam Smith, owner of The Portland Forge and a practicing blacksmith, may have to relocate. In 2013, Phineas Sprague, the then-owner of the 10-acre Portland Complex, sold the waterfront property to James Brady, a managing partner of the real estate development company CPB2LLC. And last June, after a great deal of controversy, the City Council passed plans for the development of condos on the 10-acre lot, much of which is detailed at Brady’s site, http://www.cpb2.com.
Blacksmithing artisans forge timeless treasures
- Linda Hunt can remember her Uncle George Gregg blacksmithing in rural Clay County. He used a large anvil that Hunt says weighed “I don't know how much” and she estimates was 150 years old. “He wouldn't let me get close to it when I was a kid,” Hunt
- Austin jokes that he, too, has magical powers, and to see him hammer a straight piece of metal against his anvil until it curves into a smooth railing of angles and edges, one could see why the blacksmith got such a reputation. “At times it's an art
- McNally uses the blacksmith shop of his now deceased friend and mentor, Tom Smith. It is filled with dust and charcoal smoke, tools, tongs, anvils and branding irons. Small hills of scrap metal surround the property. Each day McNally goes to work, he
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