Intriguing House: The 18th Century Blue Ball Inn with a Macabre History

image

I drive by this house frequently as it’s only 2 miles from Brick House 319. It’s a stone’s throw from the Daylesford Train Station (between Berwyn and Paoli), situated on a bend and close to the road.

It was built as a tavern/inn around 1795 which catered to itinerant merchants and peddlers traveling through Pennsylvania, Delaware and Ohio. Several murders took place at the tavern. One of the owner’s, Prissy Moore, was married three times and lived to be 100 years old (1860).

According to history, Prissy supplied large quantities of whiskey to peddlers who carried large sums of money and then several of them disappeared.

In 1894, decades after prissy died, while doing renovation work, six skeletons were found under the cellar floor. Rumor has it that maybe they were her three husbands along with a few peddlers.

It was called the Blue Ball Inn (click to see a photo circa 1900). From doing a little research, apparently there was a large pole with a blue ball in front of the tavern. If the ball was raised to the top of the pole, stagecoach drivers knew passengers needed to be picked up. If the ball was down, the stagecoach driver didn’t stop. The house is now a private residence.

 

Happy New Year from Brick House 319!

Time is like a flowing river, no water passes beneath your feet twice, much like a river, moments never pass you by again, so cherish every moment that life gives you and have a wonderful and Happy New Year.

Sue & John

John Passed The Rough Electrical Inspection!

John passed the rough electrical inspection with flying colors yesterday. I knew he would! He did a meticulous job wiring the entire house. Dale, the electrician, came over several times to check on John’s work and coach him. I had no doubt about him passing. The electrical inspector was nice to boot!

When I arrived at the house yesterday the plumbers, Evan and John, were there. I walked down to the basement and I saw the brand new Rheem water heater. I said, “Wow!” I eyed it as though it was a luxury item, because without one, it’s a miserable existence.

Evan soldered the copper pipes connected to the water heater. Later in the day, Evan and John, pressure-tested the water in the pipes. I happened to be standing outside when John was about to turn on the outside water faucet. He said for me to stay back due to the pressure. When he turned the handle, I couldn’t believe what I saw…RUNNING WATER!!!

I looked at the water flowing out of the spicket as though it were diamonds spilling out of a black velvet pouch. I said to John, “I can’t believe it!  Running water!” This is the very first time this house has had running water in FIVE years! There’s nothing like having the luxury of running water. Have you ever tried living without it! (?)

If I had to choose between having running water or diamonds, without even thinking, I would say water in ONE NANO SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Believe me, fresh running water is as luxurious as the finest canary diamond-in my opinion, anyway!

 

Cramond: Where John Grew Up- A McKim, Mead & White Design in Strafford, PA

image

This is the house where John grew up. It’s located about 2 miles from Brick House 319. It was designed by the prominent architect Charles Follen McKim of the influential architectural firm McKim, Mead & White in NYC.

The three architects defined the look of the gilded age in the late 19th century and at the turn of the 20th century; they designed some of the country’s greatest buildings, most were concentrated in New York and New England. They were the most famous and successful American architectural firm of its time. Until 1887, the firm excelled in designing large homes built of shingles in Newport, Rhode Island, Long Island and the Jersey Shore.

McKim designed J.P. Morgan’s Library in NYC, Boston Public Library, Columbia University Library and the University Club, among others. (McKim was born and raised in Chester County where Cramond is located.)

McKim’s partner, Stanford White, was perhaps the most famous of the three architects due to being murdered (in 1906) by the jealous, millionaire husband of his former showgirl mistress, Evelyn Nesbit. Stanford White designed Madison Square Garden (1891) and the Washington Memorial Arch (1891).

image

John’s house was built in 1886. It was called “Cramond” and remains an important national landmark that initiated the Classical Revival Style in domestic American architecture. The house was built for Daniel S. Newhall, an executive of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The house is conveniently located a stone’s throw across from the Stafford Train Station. Watch this quick video which includes a snippet about Cramond.

image

John’s father who was an attorney, bought the house in 1954 and sold it in 1983. John grew up in the house until the age of 23; he had fun living in such a great, big house.

image

image

When John’s father retired, he decided to sell the house. At the time, it was actually difficult to sell. Being an attorney, he changed the zoning. He had a buyer and the buyer wanted to open a day care center in the house. Needless to say, the neighbors were fit to be tied.

image

Fortunately, before selling Cramond, John’s parents protected the home by adding it to the National Register of Historic Places.

image

The day care center was in the house for years and then it was sold to The Goddard School.