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A historical, mysterious past

By Staff | Aug 28, 2011

The city of Blue Earth is working to take over ownership of an old house on Fourth Street which has become a safety hazard.

“We are working with the family to transfer ownership of the house to the city,” City Attorney David Frundt says. “When the city officially owns it they will be able to use HRA grant funds to demolish it.”

Frundt says the lot will probably be put up for sale.

“I think the transfer will be accomplished soon,” Frundt says. “The timetable will be to have it torn down before the end of fall.”

Frundt says that up until about a year ago, the owner, Albert Schobert, was living in the front part of the house.

“I believe he has lived in the house for 70 years,” Frundt says. “But, it is in bad shape, with the back portion of the house collapsing. It has become an issue of safety.”

Local history buff A.B. Russ says it will be a sad day when the house is torn down.

“This house is one of the oldest ones in Blue Earth,” Russ says. “In fact, it may be the oldest house still standing in town.”

And, Russ says, the house has a very interesting history – and is part of a mystery he has spent several years trying to solve.

According to records researched by Russ, the house was built by Henry Constans in 1857.

It was sold several times in the next couple of years, and several owners fell victim to foreclosure due to non-payment of taxes.

Finally, in June of 1866, the house was sold to Mrs. Benjamin Franklin who turned it into a boarding house.

“Mrs. Franklin was Mrs. Georgeanna May when she came to Blue Earth with her first husband, Edwin May, from Iowa in 1857. She was originally from New York, he was from Connecticut. They had been married in 1851,” Russ says. “They farmed six miles south of Blue Earth, where two of their three sons were born.”

Then her husband Edwin joined the army and went off to fight in the Civil War. He fell sick after a battle and died on Sept. 6, 1863. To read more of this article, see this week’s Register.