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The Dahl - Peterkin Building

Henry Dahl & J. D. Peterkin, Blacksmiths

122 North Molalla Avenue
1922 - 1960
By Gail J. McCormick

The Dahl - Peterkin Building is located at 122 North Molalla Avenue in Molalla, Oregon.  The architectural style is 20th Century Utilitarian Commercial with a Western False Front.  The Western False Front applies to the southern section of the building and includes a vertical facade with square top, hiding a gable roof.  It was a typical style for early blacksmith shops.  The front had two large double doors for easily maneuvering horses around when shoeing, or for repairing large wagon wheels or plows.  Inside, one would find a large forge, with belching bellows above.  Nearby would be a steel or iron anvil, on which metal could be hammered or shaped.  Two separate buildings are noted on a 1922 - 1951 Sanford map; the south building as “blacksmith” and the north building as “blacksmith and wheelwright”.  The south building may be as old as 1885, when the Noyer-Adams Building was built but, I have dated it 1922, when Henry Dahl moved in.  At this time, information is not available to prove the earlier date.  Other blacksmiths, such as a Mr. McDonald and Milt Trullinger may have rented the building.  Originally, the buildings may have been two separate businesses.  The wheelwright shop is still covered with the original wood-shiplap siding.  When the Peterkins bought the property, a back wall connected the buildings.  In 1947, the two buildings became one when the Peterkins built a drive-in repair shop between them.  The drive-in made more room for their welding services for the many logging trucks driving through Molalla.  This part of the building still has the original sheet aluminum finish.

Henry Dahl

Henry Dahl was born in Denmark, in 1889.  His family immigrated to New York when he was five years old.  Henry purchased the blacksmith property in 1922 and 1925, from W. W. Everhart.  The 1922 purchase was for Lot 2, Block 3, in Everhart’s 2nd addition.  The 1925 purchase was for Lots 1 and 3, Block 3, in the same addition.  Henry was a blacksmith at Molalla approximately 10 years.  Prior to coming to Molalla in 1919, he had been in a horseshoeing business in Portland, with his father, Christen Dahl.  In November, 1928, Henry sold the Molalla property to his father, who then sold to John Duncan Peterkin, in September of 1929.  The following month, Henry and his wife, moved to California and took up farming.  In 1932, they returned to Oregon and Henry opened a blacksmith shop in Hubbard, Oregon.  Henry was a resident of Hubbard for 42 years.  He died in 1974, at Bremerton, Washington.

John D. Peterkin

John Duncan Peterkin, known as “Jack”, was born in 1880, in Illinois.  He was the son of William Peterkin and Jane Burd Peterkin.  Jack’s parents married in 1870, in Scotland, and immigrated to Illinois, in 1871.  In 1906, Jack moved to Portland, and in 1918, he married Jean Robson.   Jean was born in Scotland, in 1892.  Her parents were John and Jean Robson.  The Robson family immigrated to America in 1907.  Jack and Jean had two children:  Jean and John William, known as “Bill”.


In 1918, Jack Peterkin listed his occupation as a planner at Columbia River Shipyards.  This was during World War I.  In 1920, he listed his occupation as a machinist for the shipyard.  Eventually, he decided to follow the occupation of his father, a blacksmith.  He first went into business in Portland with a partner named Shroeder.  In 1929, he bought out the business of Henry and Christen Dahl in Molalla.    Jack ran the business as J. D. Peterkin Co.  In 1960, when he retired, his son Bill Peterkin, took over.   Jack died in 1965, at Molalla.  Jean died in 1959, at Molalla.  Four generations of the Peterkin family have operated the business since 1929.

In addition to the welding business, Bill Peterkin and his wife, Dolores, were very involved in the Molalla Buckeroo Association.  Dolores was the former Dolores Long.  In 1946, she was a Buckeroo Princess and, in 1948, she was Buckeroo Queen.  She was an expert horsewoman and a very skilled trick rider; she thrilled the crowds at the Buckeroo Rodeo by riding while standing on her horse.  Dolores owned and operated several restaurants, including the popular Country Kettle, the Y Drive-In and the Side-Kick Café.  Bill died in 1986, at Molalla.  Dolores died in 2008, at Molalla.

Photo Gallery


“Charles Hardy Story”, by Charles Hardy, Our Proud Past, Volume 1, Hardback, 1992, Page 215
“Dolores Long, Buckeroo Queen”, Molalla Pioneer, June 24, 1948
“Henry Dahl”, Clackamas County Deed Records, Book 195, Page 284 & Book 179, Page 529
“Henry Dahl”, Molalla Locals, Molalla Pioneer, October 17, 1929
“Henry Dahl”, Obituary,, 2020
“Henry Dahl”, U. S. Census: 1900, Utica, New York; 1910, Portland, Oregon; 1920, Molalla, Oregon; 1930, Petaluma, California; 1940, Hubbard, Oregon, Ancestry.Com,
“Dahl & Son”, Portland City Directory, 1918
“J. D. Peterkin”, Clackamas County Deed Records, Book 202, Page 598
“J. D. Peterkin”, Self Guided Tour of Molalla, by Judith Sanders Chapman & Lois E. Helvey Ray, 2009
“John D. Peterkin”,, 2020
“John D. Peterkin”, Obituary, Molalla Pioneer, November 25, 1965
“John D. Peterkin”, U. S. Census: 1920, Portland, Oregon; 1930 & 1940, Molalla, Oregon, Ancestry.Com.
“John W. Peterkin”, Obituary, Molalla Pioneer, March 5, 1986

© Gail J. McCormick, 2020

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