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November 19, 1998 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-19

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The Michigan Daily Weekei

8B - The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - Thursday, November 19

. 1998



The Kempf House, Center for Local Hist

The second-story windows are fashioned with the "pressed flower" pat-
terned grilles that can be found on several houses in Washtenaw County.
These grilles were a popular stock item when the Kempf Hloue was built.

However difficult it is to imagine, the
University once had to borrow Reuben
Kempf's grand piano. In the 1890s, the
Kempfs owned a 1877 Steinway, the first
grand piano in Ann Arbor. The piano was
brought into Hill Auditorium for perfor-
mances. The piano is still in existence and is
in the process of being restored. It will
return to its original location in the house
sometime early next year.
The Kempf house offers opportunities for
student involvement. There are volunteer
positions available, and training on Ann
Arbor history will be given to those who
want to donate some time to the house.
Those who don't have time to give, but still
would like to be involved can subscribe to
the quarterly newsletter for a student rate.
With a membership, house tours are free.
On Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m., the
Kempf house hosts lectures on local history
and architecture. The cost is $1 for mem-
bers, $2 for non-members.
The house hosts an annual Valentine's Day
tea in February. Reservations can be made
after February 1. Exhibits, demonstrations
and lectures are held throughout the year.
For more information contact:
The Kempf House
312 South Division
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Emily, a German
Kempf House.

The Kempfs were middle class residents who
earned their living with music. Pauline, who attend-
ed the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, taught
vocal lessons, conducted the Congregational
Church Choir and performed musicals at St.
Andrew's Episcopal Church. Reuben graduated
from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Germany
and he was the organist and choir director of St.
Andrew's Episcopal Church. He was also active in
the University's Glee Club.

With its four columns, triangular pediment and low pitched roof, the Kempf House Is an example of Greek Revival Architecture right In Ann Arbor.
University students do not always take advantage of Ann Arbor's diverse culture, evident in things such
as the Kempf House. Located only a few blocks from campus, at 312 South Division St., the house is
perfect for a Sunday afternoon study break. One can drop by between 1 and 4 p.m. and tour the historic
house for just $1. The Kempf house was named after the family that lived there for 63 years. Reuben H.
Kempf and his wife, Pauline Widenmann Kempf raised their two children, Elsa and Paul, in the house.
Elsa studied at the University of Michigan, and later became a teacher at Perry Elementary School. Paul
convinced the city of Ann Arbor to purchase the house in 1967 as an investment. He knew that the
increasing amount of construction taking place in downtown Ann Arbor would soon take over the older
residential properties. The house itself was built in 1853 by Mary and Henry Bennett, and with this in
mind, Ann Arbor made it into a center for local history. It is now maintained by the Ann Arbor
Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Kempf House contains a sewing machine owned by the machine's inventor, Elias Howe. Although it is not one of Howe's
earliest machines, it still is a historic piece, displayed with its original stand and case.

Although thisi
Kempf's residen
order to convey

Photostory by Jessica Johns

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