Insley Hall set the pattern for Blair Academy’s magnificent architecture. Footbridge Park in Blairstown and at various road crossings from Blairstown to near Columbia. From there to Delaware village, the old Dinkey tracks are covered by Route 46. n 1887, at the age of 85, disenchanted with the construction scheme of the Northwestern Railroad, John Blair cashed in his stock for $2,000,000. To save the exchange rate between Chicago and New York, he carried the cash in two satchels to New York where he personally deposited the money. Yet the great entrepreneur's frugality was matched by his public benevolence. Perhaps spurred by a desire to afford others more than his own meager education as a youth, Blair, at age 46, with other town leaders, fostered the formation of a private school, the Blair Presbyterial Academy in 1848. A sturdy stone schoolhouse was constructed on a knoll at the western edge of the hamlet where classes met until about 1854 and in later years was used as the Music Hall. Often referred to as "the Old Academy", the rugged structure still stands adjacent to the cemetery, which holds the grave of the Academy's greatest benefactor, John I. Blair, as marked by a tall monument. In 1851, Blair donated funds for the construction of a dormitory dubbed "Blair Hall", for which the entire campus was ultimately named. When this building burned down in 1867, Blair proposed to the resident farmers that he would foot the bill for construction of a new building if they would assist in transporting local stone for the structure. As construction began they were surprised at the scope and size of the new "Insley Hall", named in honor of Blair's wife's family. Three stories tall, plus attic and basement, it set the pattern for the Academy's magnificent architecture, as it expanded through modern times, supported largely by Blair and his family. Over the years, Blair also provided financial support for Princeton University and Lafayette College. In 1896, Blair presented a new electric plant to the Academy and also provided sixty-seven incandescent lamps "to light the town". His water works, built first to provide his home with water, were extended next to the Academy and finally to portions of Blairstown. Very late in his life, at the age of 88, John I., son, DeWitt Clinton, and grandson, C. Ledyard, extended the family's financial houses by founding the prestigious New York City banking firm of Blair & Company primarily to manage the Gould family's railroad interests. John I. also held mortgage bonds of dozens of companies and the controlling ownership of various large corporations. Near the end of his life, when asked why he did not live the same splendidly luxurious life as his son did, he replied in humor, "Well, I'll tell you. I haven't got a rich father as he does." And upon John I.'s death, one newspaper stated that he had died because "he was simply worn out".

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