The large two-story frame house, which was once located on the corner of Northeast A and Fourth Streets in Linton, Indiana, was commonly referred to as the Blue House. The land on which the Blue House originally stood was purchased from the United States Government on March 25, 1825, by Abner C. Young for $100. The first piece of land consisted of 193 acres. Later it was divided into five sections and sold.
The Victorian-styled Blue House was built for Edwin L. Wolford in 1887. The house got the nickname "the Blue House" because Wolford painted the house blue. Wolford, along with his father, opened a store known as Wolford & Son. In 1894 Wolford also became one of the organizers and promoters of the Black Creek Semi-Block Coal Company. In the 1800’s Wolford was a millionaire.
After Wolford died, James Madison Humphreys, a funeral director, bought the Blue House from the Wolford family. Humphreys, a well-known and prestigious man, contributed his business skills to the town of Linton. He was a proprietor of the largest and most complete furniture store as well as an undertaking establishment. Humphreys died in the Blue House on August 29, 1938. The city park was named in honor of Humphreys for his contribution to the community.
After Humphreys’ death, the Roof family purchased the Blue House. In the 1980’s they realized that the house would be expensive to restore as it was in a sad shape of disrepair. The family then sold the house to Brett and Rebecca Kramer in May 1984.
Becky Kramer had always been interested in renovating an old house. Her dream came true when she and her husband bought the Blue House from the Roof family. She bought the house because she wanted to save it, and she knew that the Blue House held a great historical past.
The Kramers began restoring the house to its original form that summer. Mrs. Kramer was working on the house twelve hours a day, six days a week. "People thought I was crazy spending that much time and money on the house," she said with a smile. She did not hire anyone to help her with the house. She added, "I have always wanted to restore an old house, and I get the pleasure in restoring the house myself."
Inside this two-story Queen Anne mansion, everything was handmade. In the kitchen, the woodwork is called wainscoting, which is a lining or a paneling of wood on the lower part of the walls of the room. The house has a built-in fireplace that was carved by hand. Before electricity was invented, people used lanterns and candles. The fireplace has built-in shelves for candleholders. A diamond-shaped window is located in the front of the house on the first level. Two sets of staircases lead to the upstairs and one to the back entrance. The house still has all wooden floors. The interior doors downstairs are called pocket doors; they slide back and forth and are concealed within the walls.
Later, when Kramer was restoring the house, she discovered a hidden staircase leading to the cellar. She said, "It was used back in the 1800’s as an underground railroad."
A unique design on the front of the house adds character and distinction. The symbol is a type trademark fad, which was popular in the 1800’s. Another symbol was found hanging on the outside of the house. The fire plaque symbol was used as a type of insurance for the house if the house was on fire. If people did not have the fire plaque hanging on the front of the house, the fire department would just let the house burn.
Also, the Blue House is not blue anymore. The color of the house is now salmon. Kramer repainted the house in May 1995; it took her three months to finish the painting. Kramer changed the color of the house because she got tired of the blue.
On Tuesday, January 30, 1996, the house was moved from the Northeast A Street lot to a 30-acre farm on Ellis Road, two miles south of Highway 54. Moving the house was a monumental task as the Blue House is 32 feet wide, 50 feet long and about 40 feet tall. First, permission from the Permits Department from the State of Indiana had to be obtained to gain access to the state highway. The house was then loaded on a low-boy trailer and slowly moved west on State Road 54. Utility services, such as electricity, telephone, and cable television, were temporarily interrupted.
Then the MCF construction firm undertaking the project had to build a bridge across Goose Pond Creek, which is located South of Linton. This was necessary as the county roads could not handle the weight and width of the house. The Blue House now rests in its final location. Becky and Brett Kramer said that the house was moved because it belongs in the country.
The Blue House, once a house that was probably going to collapse, now stands strong and stately in its new location. Brett and Becky Kramer saved this house and its great historical past.
This information was used with permission from the Linton-Stockton School Corporation.
Pictures can be found in our photogallery.