When the blacksmith shop now known as G. Krug & Son first put hammer to anvil in 1810, there were only 17 states, James Madison was President, and the forge’s location at 415 W. Saratoga Street was at the edge of the burgeoning city of Baltimore.
Much has changed since then, but not the shop, which is the oldest continually operating blacksmith workshop in the U.S. Currently owned by Peter Krug, whose great-great-grandfather, Gustav, joined the business circa 1850 and eventually gave it the family name, the smithy has contributed metalwork to just about every major building project in Baltimore, from The Johns Hopkins Hospital to Green Mount Cemetery, plus many beyond the city’s borders.
Now, because of its recently received nonprofit status from the IRS, the shop’s on-site museum will be able to better curate and display that history. G. Krug & Son began displaying some historical items about three years ago, but this new designation is a huge step forward.
“It’s really going to allow more opportunities to get different types of grants, as well as donations that are tax-deductible for people,” says Patrick Cutter, 23, an employee who is helping to set up the fledgling museum.
Cutter and Krug hope to replace the roof and add more climate-controlled storage for the two centuries worth of business records, drawings, and antique metalwork in the collection. Not that everything worth seeing will be behind glass.
“We are still operating the shop. We are using machinery that’s well over 100 years old. That really makes it unique,” Krug, 55, notes.
While the museum doesn’t have regular hours yet, the business will host its annual holiday open house on December 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with demonstrations and tours. Krug and Cutter hope that once people visit, they’ll want to support the shop.
“We want to make sure we can keep the history going for another 200 years, at least,” says Cutter.
Additional photos from G. Krug & Son: