A Collection of Bowls and Vessels From The "Washington-Chew-Funkhouser House"
About Historic Blakeley
Photograph By Acroterion (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Blakeley was built on 11 acres along Bullskin Run by John Augustine Washington II, great-nephew of George Washington, in 1820. Directly north, indeed "across the street" (old County Rt. 13/3, dating from that period), sits "Claymont Court," the estate built by Bushrod Washington, John Augustine's brother. Interestingly, John Augustine Washington made no attempt to match the grandeur of Claymont Court (known to some as "Bushrod's Folly), as he was in line to (and did indeed) inherit Mount Vernon. The original Blakeley was basically a federal-style masonry building with a gable roof and chimneys at either end. Upon John's death, in 1832, his son Richard Blackburn Washington inherited Blakeley. Richard, who married his cousin, Christian Washington of Harewood, another Washington home, was part of the 1859 posse that pursued John Brown's raiders. In 1861, upon the death of Richard's brother John Augustine Washington III, who fought for the Confederacy, John's eight orphaned children came to live at Blakeley, joining Richard and Christian Washington's seven. After an 1864 fire damaged the house extensively (the roof was a total loss, as was much of the second floor), Richard rebuilt Blakeley. In 1875 Richard sold Blakeley to Louise Fontaine Washington Chew, the niece of Richard B. Washington (Richard and his family moved to Harewood). Chew's husband, Colonel R. Preston Chew was a local businessman, the president of the Charles Town Mining, Manufacturing, and Improvement Company. In 1892, the house was sold to John Burns, a local farmer and community leader. In 1943, industrialist Raymond J. Funkhouser purchased the house and undertook its extensive "period" restoration, which included careful renovation of all of the interior woodwork and the hanging of chandeliers in the main rooms. Funkhouser, who had also purchased (and resided at) Claymont Court, believed that a Washington Family home should be more grand, and among many other changes added the two-storey, decked 3-bay portico, supported by four Roman Doric columns and two pilasters, by which Blakeley is famously recognized to this day. Blakeley was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 (see nomination form here).