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Chapter 27: The Dahl-Peterkin Building (Henry Dahl & J.D. Peterkin), 122 N. Molalla Ave., 1922-1960

By Gail J. McCormick for The Molalla Pioneer

The Dahl - Peterkin Building is located at 122 North Molalla Avenue in Molalla, Oregon.

The architecture 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.

COURTESY PHOTO: GAIL J. MCCORMICK - The Dahl-Peterkin Building is located at 122 N. Molalla Ave. in Molalla. The outside sections originally were two separate buildings. They were joined together in 1947, when the Peterkins built a drive-in repair shop between them. The left side has the Western False Front.

It was a typical style for 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". Originally, they 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 the 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.

COURTESY PHOTO: NADINE WILLIAMS - John Duncan Peterkin at about 25 years old.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.

COURTESY PHOTO: PETERKIN FAMILY COLLECTION - J.D. Peterkin Co. engaged in blacksmithing, horseshoeing and metal repair. Four generations of the Peterkin family has operated the business since 1929.

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 up 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.

About the Author:

Gail J. McCormick has lived in Mulino for 32 years. She is an award-winning author for her book, "Our Proud Past". The book features stories of Oregon Trail pioneers who settled in South Clackamas County. Ms. McCormick was the recipient of First Award in the Oregon Press Women's Communication Contest for Non-Fiction History Books published in 1992. The book was also deemed "Recommended reading" by Powell's Book Store of Portland, Oregon. It is available at The Main Store, the Marquam store, the Meadowbrook Store, the Mill Barn Espresso, Union Mill's Feed and the Molalla Area Historical Society. If you have photos or information to share, please contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-632-3640. Your help is appreciated.


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