In 1910, the Morton Blacksmith Shop opened on 25 E. Adams Street in Downtown Morton.
Almost 110 years later, the same building is in the process of being converted to The Forge Steakhouse. However, the history of the building will be remembered.
Owners John and Amber Thomas have spent the year bringing the building up to code and updating parts of the building that showed age, but have made sure to keep the foundation of the building intact. This allowed them to raise the ceiling for more room, even while having to demolish the back part of the building because it wasn't structurally sound according to John.
He also went through the building before clean-up began, colleting items that could be preserved for display later on.
"A lot of the work inside is to try and keep as much of the structure as possible," he said.
Part of that work has included sistering up where the old wood on the ceiling was charred by the forge flames with new wood. The original forge also has received an update.
"The old forge has been modified a little bit," John said. "It used to be larger. It'll be like a fireplace for ambiance in the dining room."
Also being kept are the old barn doors from the original building, which will be located in the entryway. The slider doors from the front of the building will be refinished and remain where they are.
While the signage from the front of the building is currently gone, it will be making a return.
"We actually photo documented that and will be recreating that inside the building to honor it," he said. "We also just bought a sign that was here in the early 1900s when it was first opened. We wanted to honor the history of the building and keep some of the old pieces people will remember."
However, the Thomas' won't just be preserving the building, they'll also be remembering the past with memorabilia. Behind the hostess station, there will be memorabilia talking about the history of the building and of the families that worked there.
"We're going to have other memorabilia throughout the dining room," John said.
Memorabilia will range from horseshoes and an old hammer used by the previous owners, to items found at auctions and photos obtained via social media.
Patrons interested in seeing the history of the Morton Blacksmith Shop will be able to learn plenty while they dine in. In the Cyberfire Lounge, though, which is on the back of the building, there will be a different look.
"A lot of people will come here for dinner and will never go back there and never know about it," John said.
The Forge Steakhouse, which is family owned and operated and not associated with any other Forge Steakhouses in the nation, plans to be open in November.
"We were initially hoping to be open in August, before the back of the building had to be demolished," John said. "It's been a slow go because we have to get all the permitting done."
For more information on The Forge Steakhouse and for the latest updates regarding its progress, visit https://theforgemorton.com/the-forge.