The Blake House
Italian Villa in style, this cream brick house was built in 1868 for George and Roxilana Bull. Lucius and Caroline Blake purchased the house in 1873 and it remained in the family until 1926.
Most remarkable is the centrally located Tuscan tower. Other Italianate features include round arched windows accented with corbelled brick hoods, paired wooden brackets, and side bays. Interior features include marble fireplaces, ornamental plaster rosettes and crown moldings, parquet flooring, pocket doors and shutters, and decorative woodwork.
The house was scheduled for demolition in 1976, but a coalition of cultural groups was formed to save it. In 2005 Preservation Racine, Inc. purchased the building. The house is a Racine Landmark and also a key building in Racine's National Register of Historic Places Southside Historic District.
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Lucius S. Blake
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One of Racine's first industrialists, Lucius Blake (1816-1894), founded a number of early businesses. Born in Burlington, Vermont, Lucius and his family moved to Racine in the 1830's. In 1839 he set up a small carpenter shop on the north side of the Root River. He married Caroline Elliott in 1843.
In 1844 Blake became the first manufacturer of fanning mills in Racine. Hand-cranked fanning mills blew air through wheat to remove chaff and were much in demand. By 1879 his firm, Blake, Beebe and Co., was selling 3,000 mills a year worldwide.
Blake helped establish the Racine Woolen Mills and the Chicago Rubber Clothing Company. He also served as village trustee, alderman, and county treasurer. In 1882, he financed the opulent, six-story, 1,250-seat Blake Opera House in downtown Racine, which burned down two years later.
Plaque sponsored by Preservation Racine, Inc.