When Charlotte walks from her sister’s house to work on Saturdays in UNCHAINED MEMORIES, she often walks through Princeton University campus. Blair Hall is a huge dormitory in the center of campus, off Nassau Street, and it is easily recognizable by its clock tower. It was designed by Cope and Stewardson of Philadelphia, and built in 1897. The building inspired the trend of Gothic architecture on college campuses. For a photo of Blair Hall see my PHOTO GALLERY #9.
Blair Hall is named for John Insley Blair who was a Trustee of the University from 1866-1899. Interestingly, he left school at the age of 11 to work in a country store. From there he became the owner of a store, then five stores and four large flower mills, and then an interest in iron mines. He co-founded the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad as well as the Union Pacific Railroad.
The main lines of the area railroad originally passed through Princeton, and when Blair Hall was first built, the railroad tracks came to the foot of the steps leading up to Blair Arch. Unfortunately for the students who lived in Blair Hall , the puffing engine parked below their dorm often kept them awake at night and the soot from the train’s smokestack blew into their rooms.
In 1918, the railroad station was moved a quarter mile south and the tracks removed. The main stop on the railroad line is now in Princeton Junction.
RAFFLE QUESTION: Who was one of the university’s most generous benefactors in the late 1800s who lived in Drumthwacktet, now the New Jersey Governor’s mansion, at 344 Stockton Street in Princeton?