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Gist Blair

Part of the original ballroom, Gist Blair has panelled ceilings that have seen many diamond-studded parties. Deep colors gleam with light from the large windows. A sitting area has plenty of space to spread out maps and guides to plan your day while you soak in the sunshine.

dot First floor
dot Queen bed
dot Tub/shower
dot Large flat panel TV

Gist Blair

Gist Blair (1870–1940) was a well known and influential Cleftstone cottager from 1923 until his death in 1940. Born to a wealthy and powerful family of the 1800s, Blair made a significant impact on Bar Harbor.

The Blair family played a critical role in 19th century politics. Gist Blair’s grandfather, Francis Preston Blair, was the editor of the Washington Globe and a member of the famous “kitchen cabinet” of informal advisors to President Andrew Jackson. His father, Montgomery Blair, represented Dred Scott before the Supreme Court and was president Lincoln’s postmaster general. The Blair family, related by marriage to the Lee family of Virginia, played a role as intermediaries between the North and South during the Civil War. It was at Blair House in Washington, D.C. that Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union Army prior to the Civil War. Although Gist Blair did not assume as significant a national role as his father and grandfather, he did make an impact in the communities where he lived.

Gist practiced law in both St. Louis and Washington, D.C. He served on school boards and on the board of directors of hospitals in both communities. After moving to Washington, Gist Blair became president of the Chevy Chase Club. He served in the Army during WWI and achieved the rank of major.

Considered the most eligible bachelor in Washington, Gist married Laura Ellis in March of 1913. Laura and her former husband, Frank, had been summer cottagers at Cleftstone for a number of years, and Laura was very fond of Cleftstone. Not surprisingly, the new couple used Cleftstone extensively in the summer. Having never been to Bar Harbor prior to his marriage, Gist quickly became a popular summer visitor. He was president of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association for 15 years and became a National Park board member. In 1922, Gist and Laura adopted their niece, Laura Lawson, and the family of three visited Cleftstone every summer, often motoring up the coast from Washington for the season.

The Blair Family is well known for Blair House in Washington, D.C. In his will, Blair provided for the sale of Blair House to the U.S. Government. Blair House became the official guesthouse of the White House.

The Gist Blair room is located at one end of the former ballroom, added on to the mansion in 1903.

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