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Blacksmith Al Stephens worked for almost 20 years in high-production industry in St. Louis, MO. Al was introduced to the art of blacksmithing while on a visit to a historic site in Illinois. He became a volunteer at the park's 19th century blacksmith shop equipped with bellows, coal forge, anvil, and vise. Over the next several years many patient smiths helped and encouraged Al to develop his skills. The Stephens' moved to Pennsylvania so Al could pursue full-time employment as a blacksmith forging colonial hardware reproductions and custom projects. In 2000, Al and his wife Sylvia started Pequea Valley Forge. They recently relocated to a new home and shop in rural northern Alabama where Al is happily hammering away.