Its builder, Ray Bland, 'loved it to the day he passed away'
In 1982, Ray Bland of Princeton decided to turn his dreams into a reality.
He bought seven acres of land and built what became known as the legendary Earth Home, located outside of Princeton.
Although he was not a licensed engineer, he was an indisputable genius when it came to figuring out how to build or rebuild something. Bland had always wanted to construct a home that was energy efficient and could stand the test of time.
Once his earth home was built, people flocked to see the iconic structure. So many, in fact, Ray and his wife, Patricia, began charging $1 for tours just for upkeep on the carpeting cleaning bill.
The Blands were proud of their home. They lived there with their five children – Ray, Lisa, Lori, Oakley and Curt.
Bland died in March 2016. His wife, Patricia, now lives in Indiana near her children.
The ranch-style home was set inside a hill on the land and constructed out of concrete – 10-inch-thick exterior walls reinforced with steel rods, 8-inch-thick roof, and 4-inch-thick floors. The front of the house is the only side with windows, which helps spread natural light throughout the home.
The weather-resistant composition requires less outside maintenance, and the concrete construction makes it unbelievably strong, durable and fire resistant. The temperature inside averages anywhere between 52 and 60 degrees in the winter, and from 72 to 75 degrees in the summer.
Curt Bland, who now lives in California, can remember when his dad was building the home. He said a lot of people would question his dad’s plan, but dad always fired back, “Why not?”
“When you’re in the house, you have no idea if it’s thundering or lightning outside. A tornado would go by, and you’d have no clue,” Curt said.
Curt remembers having a homecoming bonfire out at the house when he was a senior in high school and having to take the kids through the home so they could see it for themselves.
“I don’t know how many kids I had to parade through the house, because it was that unique,” he said, laughing.
Curt admired his dad’s ability to build just about anything.
“(The Earth Home) was something he’d always dreamed about from when he was a little kid. It was his dream, and he lived it,” Curt said.
“And he loved it to the day he passed away.”
The family made one of the hardest decisions this year to put their dad’s earth home up for sale. Curt said none of the family gets back to Princeton much anymore, and it’s the only plan that made the most sense for everyone.
The family looks forward to seeing their dad’s one-of-a-kind dwelling become a home to the next generation. The Earth Home is located at 23767 1355 North Ave. in rural Princeton.