December 5, 2012

Historic house reaches fundraising goal

Charles Oliver

— The Whitfield-Murray Historical Society had a rare opportunity to preserve the Blunt House, which some believe to be the second-oldest house in the city.

This past fall, an anonymous donor offered to donate $100,000 to the upkeep of the house. But there was one catch. The group had to raise an additional $100,000 to match it, and it had to do it by Nov. 30.

“We had to raise that $100,000 between August and November. A lot of people said we couldn’t do it. But thanks to a lot of generous people, we made it,” Blunt House Chairwoman Joanne Lewis said.

The house was built for Dalton’s first mayor and postmaster, Ainsworth Emery Blunt, who also helped found Dalton’s First Presbyterian Church. The house is on Thornton Avenue just outside of downtown Dalton.

The group has a list of projects that need to be done at the house, which was built in 1848.

It needs a new roof and decking, painting for some of the interior rooms, new sod for the front yard, repairs to some of the furniture and several other items. But Lewis said that work won’t be done at once.

“That is a five-year plan,” Lewis said. “This $200,000 will be held by the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, and we will receive a certain amount each year. The payments will made in the first quarter of every year. We will receive our first payment in January, and I was told it will probably be between $10,000 and $12,000. There will be money for years and years to come.”

Lewis said the one first items on the agenda may be to frame water colors painted by Blunt’s granddaughters and their diplomas.

“The diplomas, in particular, need to be protected. They are curling up and need to be placed in something,” Lewis said.

The Blunt House is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. It will not be open the Friday before Christmas. It is also open day or night upon request at other hours.

Tourists, local students and others regularly view the home, which includes numerous pieces of period furniture, clothing, kitchen utensils and other household items. The Historical Society changes its galleries and historical displays at times throughout the year.


The historic Blunt House at 506 S. Thornton Ave. is decorated for Christmas. Visit and see original decorations. Attendees are asked to make a donation of $7. The Blunt House is open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on request. It will be  closed the Friday before Christmas, Dec. 21.