The Colorful Past & Bright Future Of The Henry Blosser House

Oh, how the neighbors must have talked!

When Henry and Sarah Blosser purchased 900 acres of fertile Saline County, Missouri farmland and began constructing their new home, the house they built was unlike anything anyone around here had seen.

It was a grand, three-story mansion with a mansard roof. This Second Empire style of architecture was more at home in France on the Champs Elyse, or for important American residences such as those occupied by General Ulysses S. Grant or the Missouri governor. In fact, it is suspected, although not proven, that the same architect who designed the governor’s mansion, William Ingham Barnett, designed the Henry Blosser Home.

Henry Blosser House Historic Photograph

Like other American variations on the Second Empire theme, the Blosser House incorporated trendy Victorian elements such as saw-cut porch railings. But what truly set Henry and Sarah’s home apart from all others was its color scheme. In homage to his Swiss heritage, Henry incorporated all the bold colors of a Swiss chalet into his stately home. The wooden shingles on the roof were painted in colorful stripes of blue, green and red. The red clay brick exterior was enhanced with wood trim painted bright white, red and green.

“I would primarily call the style of the Blosser a highly spirited and whimsical American Gentleman’s Manor House,” says Kelee Katillac of Heartland Historic Homes, an architecture and design firm specializing in historical projects. “It was always colorful and an expression of the family over any one period of design. They had French, Swiss, Eastlake and Colonial or Federal pieces.”

When the house was completed in the 1870s, it truly was an eclectic architectural masterpiece. Even the Blossers’ barn defied convention with its interesting roofline.

Henry Blosser and his family were so successful in their business ventures that a small village formed near the house. The savvy farmer gave the Missouri Pacific Railroad a right-of- way through his land in exchange for a flag-stop siding he could use for his business interests. Soon the village of Blosser included a post office, a grist mill, sawmill, store, blacksmith shop, lumber
yard, stockyard, and three small homes.

Henry Blosser Barn Historic Photograph

Over time, the village faded into history and the once-grand home lost some of its luster. Now, thanks to its visionary new owners, the Blosser House is being reborn as a first-class events center. With Katillac leading the way in her role as developer, and with a team of highly skilled contractors and preservation pros, the house has been updated to accommodate guest rooms, a commercial kitchen, and modern amenities, while retaining its historic character (with a slightly more subdued exterior color scheme!) and the elegance of days gone by.

When work on the house is complete, the focus will shift to the barn, which will be restored and reimagined as versatile event space for weddings, events and business meetings.

As it reclaims its glory and embraces a new purpose, the Henry Blosser House 1874 Country Inn & Barn has got people talking all over again.