The Forge was constructed in 1934 as a metal working shop. It supplied items like iron door hinges and handles plus copper sconces for some of the new buildings. Under the brand of Mountaineer Craftsmen’s Cooperative Association (MCCA) it produced decorative items in wrought iron, pewter, and copper. They were available at the Craft Shop, some shops in the Northeast, and through catalogs. Lon Fullmer and Forest Cress were the smiths. Lon was trained before arriving in Arthurdale.
The Forge pre-restoration in the early 1980s
Forge weather vane made by blacksmiths in the shop - item is still on display in the Forge
Forge Exterior with wrought iron sign and weathervane
Interior of Forge with blacksmith Forest Cress, Eleanor Roosevelt
Backstory and Context
We like to call this "The Forge that Built Arthurdale." It was an important building since many metal items - from hand tools to nails - needed to be made. The Forge, located in the center complex, worked with wrought iron, copper, and pewter. The smiths produced locks, door handles, hinges, and fixtures for the homes and barns as they were built. They also made copper and tin light reflectors for the homes and buildings. They produced a line of Colonial reproduction pewter goods, decorative copper items, and traditional wrought iron wares like fireplace tools and wall hooks. These were sold through the Craft Shop and catalogs.
Arthurdale blacksmiths soon received a national reputation for the products they made. According to a 1940 MCCA catalog, the pewter knives, candlesticks, bowls, and plates made in Arthurdale had a "true antique finish [with the] charm of early American simplicity" and sold from 25 cents to $7 a piece. The American Federation of Arts even selected the MCCA pewter candlesticks for display at the 1937 Paris Exhibition to represent American craftsmanship.
Arthurdale Heritage, Preserving Arthurdale, WV – Eleanor Roosevelt's New Deal Community. Arthurdale Heritage Inc.. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.arthurdaleheritage.org/.
Haid, Stephen Edward. "Arthurdale: An Experiment in Community Planning, 1933-1947." Master's thesis, West Virginia University, 1975.
Maloney, C. J. Back to the Land: Arthurdale, FDRs New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Patterson, Stuart. “A New Pattern of Life: The Public Past and Present of Two New Deal Communities.” Doctoral Thesis, Emory University, 2006.
Penix, Amanda Griffith. Images of America: Arthurdale. Arcadia Publishing, 2007.
Ward, Bryan. A New Deal for America. Arthurdale Heritage Inc., 1995
Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.
Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.