Dublin, New Hampshire-rugged Mount Monadnock, lush woodland, a sparkling lake, picturesque estates become a summer retreat for many New England blue-bloods. Its Currier and Ives atmosphere and quiet life style, far away from business and social pressures, appealed to wealthy industrialist F. Nelson Blount and his family. Dublin seemed like the perfect escape from the social whirl of aristocratic Barrington, Rhode Island. The red and white buildings of Staghead Farm afforded a peaceful hideaway to shelter his children from the vain existence of so many of their elite friends. So in 1954, the Blount family moved to New Hampshire to begin a new life in the country.
To outside observers, it seemed that Nelson Blount had everything a man could want. Everyone knew how he made his first million dollars before he was age thirty; the reputation of his farm as one of the largest maple syrup producers in southern New Hampshire; the legendary stories of his big-game hunting, deep-sea fishing and flying adventures; and his favorite passion-steam locomotives. His collection of more than fifty steam engines was eventually displayed in his Vermont museum, Steamtown, U.S.A. and at Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts.
Yet deep within his heart was a void that could not be filled by fame or fortune. The peace of mind he sought was not to be found in the world religions he studied. But the answer came in 1962. Through the persistent witness of a Christian businessman, Nelson Blount came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Immediate and dramatic changes took place in his life.
As a new Christian, he enthusiastically shared his testimony with family and friends, many of whom were saved as a result. Soon the Blounts and a small group of believers were burdened by the need of Christian education for their children, but Christian schools were scarce in the early 60's. Prayerfully, Nelson and Ruth Blount came to the decision to give their farm for the establishment of a Christian boarding school.
The next hurdle was the right leadership for the school. When Florida pastor Mel Moody received a call from Dr. Arthur Fish of Christian Schools, Inc., he admitted that starting a Christian school was the "farthest thing from my mind." But after two months of prayerful consideration, he agreed to move to New Hampshire as the director of the new school, with his brother Leon Moody coming as principal.
The two Moody families left Panama City, Florida and arrived at Staghead Farm, sight unseen, in June of 1964. To prepare for the opening of a school in three months' time would be a monumental task under the best of circumstances. For, although the property had been donated, the estate was still a working farm in every respect. The Blount family still occupied the main house, awaiting the completion of their new home on the hill. There was little housing available for the families—no classrooms—no faculty, staff or students—no dormitory furniture or kitchen equipment—and no money to operate a school.
Doubt, discouragement and determination characterized those early days. But there was a constant reassurance that what God had ordered, He would supply. On September 8, 1964, with borrowed furnishings and a staff of ten, Dublin Christian Academy opened its doors to the first twenty-eight students, grades 9-12, from all six New England states. The transformation had begun.
The original nineteen-room farmhouse, built in 1798, now houses the kitchen and dining room, infirmary, staff and guest rooms, and offices in the cellar where Mr. Blount once ran his miniature trains. The horse stable was converted into a girls' dormitory; the pig pen into a snack shop, the hayloft into a 5000-volume library and computer lab; and the cattle barn into classrooms, a science lab, and a 300-seat auditorium. The chauffeur's house, gardener's cottage and guest house of the original estate are now faculty homes.
Nelson Blount never saw the complete fulfillment of his dream. Just three years after the opening of Dublin Christian Academy, he was killed in a tragic airplane crash while flying home from Steamtown. Over the past thirty-seven years, more than 700 students have completed their high school years at Dublin Christian Academy and gone on to serve the Lord in all avenues of life. In the continuing transformation of farm to school and young people to Christian leaders, Nelson and Ruth Blount will always have a part.