Education center would feature Monticello replica

Associated Press

Somers, Conn. – A co-founder of the Friendly’s restaurant chain and his wife are hoping to turn a replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home into the centerpiece of a new educational and business center in Connecticut.

US President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande, with President of Thomas Jefferson Foundation Leslie Greene Bowman (R), tour the Third US President Thomas Jefferson’s residence, Monticello.

S. Prestley Blake, who is 104 years old, and his wife, Helen, had the nearly 10,000-square-foot replica of the Virginia mansion built in 2014 in Somers. It sold for $2.1 million at a 2016 auction.

The Journal Inquirer reports the Blakes have submitted plans to the town for “The Prestley and Helen Blake Center for Business, Ethics and Entrepreneurship.” The proposal calls for Michigan-based Hillsdale College to buy back the Monticello replica and operate the center as a satellite campus.

Helen Blake says the replica mansion’s owner supports the plans, which must be approved by town officials.