IN THE NEWS
Views of Portsmouth have changed, with new construction from one end of the city to the other. Residents’ views of their city have also changed. This is one of them.
Peter Happny started his Portsmouth blacksmith business in 1978 in a building he could afford because it had no roof and was right next to the railroad tracks.
When people ask how long he’s been there, Happny, 70, gestures to thousands of pieces of metal stacked in and around his blacksmith shop, then asks how long they think it took him “to collect all this junk.”
LEGENDARY LOCALS OF PORTSMOUTH
Happny came to Portsmouth to take a job in the blacksmith's shack at Strawberry Banke. Spending a few seasons working at the historic tourist destination in the city's South End. Happny decided would make a career out of it. Since 1978, he has been known as the local blacksmith and thrived at his studio located in the dense, downtown neighborhood at Rock Street.
Examples of Peter Happny’s blacksmith work can be found throughout the area, while his latest project is being forged to surround a South Street Cemetery plot, for a still-living client.
At the end of Rock Street, along the railroad tracks, Happny has hammered and forged metal over an open fire since 1978. At a home directly across the street is a railing he made over an open fire for a tugboat captain, who needed one to get a house loan, with two week’s notice. At the adjacent Rock Street Park is a stainless steel piece Hapney made, based on drawings from local children, that he designed “to get kicked and peed on.”
Artist Terrence Parker and his team made history Tuesday morning when they started assembling his site sculpture “Hammer-Heads” in a roundabout at the city’s new Foundry Place Garage.
When Parker began working at 7 a.m. as a cold, wet snow fell, his team began putting together the first public art project funded by the city’s Percent for Art ordinance.