Constructed 25 years after the end of the Civil War in 1891, John Blue, Sr. (then only 30 years old) – but a successful inventor and manufacturer of farming equipment) designed the home after visiting family in Mississippi where he became intrigued by the riverboats. Upon his return, he designed the home to reflect this look – including the “bridge” of the home that served as his favorite sitting area. Also contributing to the riverboat design are the rare double circular porches, as well as the ornaments that decorate the porch and railings — all hand carved by Mr. Blue himself. The house is built entirely of heart of pine lumber from trees on the grounds.
This stately queen sports nine fireplaces. The ones downstairs are very shallow and burn coal – better to impress visitors, while the upstairs fireplaces burn the more utilitarian wood.
Mr. Blue’s office features large windows that open up to the circular porch. When the weather permitted, Mr. Blue would take advantage of this design by conducting business from his office desk, while business associates could be seated outside on the porch.
This coordination of the “inside” and “out” can also be found in the star shaped openings that were cut out above the doors. While these served a decorative value, in the summer these cutouts were “opened” to allow better airflow – providing both comfort and health benefits.
A Home of Many 'Firsts'
The home was also the first in the county to have running water and electricity. The water was a gravity system with a large barrel holding water above the sink – runoff was led to underneath the home.
The electricity incorporated the Delco system. During the day, a generator charged over three dozen glass batteries. In the evening, the batteries were attached to wiring that ran to the different lights in the home. Mr. Blue was so pleased and impressed with the system that he became the local franchisee for Delco and ushered in electricity across the area.