Museum Reopens Vink Blacksmith Shop

The Yellowstone Gateway Museum has recently reopened the Vink Blacksmith Shop after volunteers repaired the roof and the forge, organized the blacksmith tools and parts, and laid a new wood floor. The shop, located in the museum’s back lot, is a snapshot in time that richly illustrates a working blacksmith shop at a transitional time when people were using both horse-powered and gasoline-powered modes of transportation. It was used by Peter Vink from 1903 until his death in 1949.

Peter Vink moved to Emigrant in 1893 from Indiana. After working various jobs and also purchasing the John Gilpin blacksmith shop in Emigrant, he married Maggie Lee in 1903. They purchased the Dry Creek Ranch in Paradise Valley, south of Emigrant, where Peter worked in his blacksmith shop. Peter was well known for his numerous skills, refitting wagon wheels, welding, and blacksmithing. Peter’s blacksmith shop was donated and moved to the museum years ago by Agnes Vink, wife of Peter “Jack” Vink, Jr.

Restoration work of the shop was led by Jem Blueher, proprietor of Anvil Wagon Works located in Livingston. He was assisted by Andy Olds. Blueher and Olds recently demonstrated the traditional art of blacksmithing using the repaired forge in the Vink blacksmith shop. Future demonstrations will be scheduled.

Though the back lot exhibits, including the blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, and numerous historic vehicles, are outdoors, the indoor exhibits are in a welcoming, air conditioned space. The museum is open seven days a week from 10-5. Many family activities are offered; youth 18 and under are free.

For more information, please contact Paul Shea or Karen Reinhart, Yellowstone Gateway Museum, 222-4184.