The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 8, 1995 - 3A
The Ships that Jim
Built: One of three
of the president's
NOPPORN KICHANANT HA/Oady
By Megan Schimpf Daily Staff Reporter
O n the outside, the President's House is
quiet-looking and stately.
But on the inside, the President's
House is the Duderstadts' house.
Stuffed bears look at the president while he
works at his desk in his study.
Caroling mice made by Susan, the eldest
daughter,join the silver and tea cups in the
dining room. And a special Wheaties box
with James on the front sits in the library.
The President's Hbuse has been home to
the University's president and first family
since 1852. Yet it remains a mystery to many
students who see the house from the street
while walking to class, and who know it only
from rumors around campus.
The most popular: The Duderstadts don't
really live there.
Anne Duderstadt looks puzzled to hear
students believe that.
"They do?" she said. "Yes, we sure do."
She says she leaves the house each day,
even if no one sees her.
"I'm in and out of this place several times
a day. I drive in and out," she says. "I try not
to hit too many students."
Looking out the windows of 815 South
University Ave. offers a different perspective
than looking in. Inside, the daily trials and
tribulations of running the University seem to
disappear in the shadow of the history that
overwhelms the 155-year-old house.
"I do love it for its history," Anne
But the house has not remained unchanged
since 1840, when it was completed. Each of
the presidents who have lived there has
made at least minor changes. The effect has
given the house a dynamically evolving ap-
pearance, both inside and out.
"It's a house that's reflected the various
presidents and the people who've lived
here," said University historian Robert
Warner. "It's been growing all the time; it's
never been frozen in time.
"It's always changing, and that's one of
the interesting things about it. It has the
stamp of every president and president's
wife who've lived here," he said.
The current residents are no exception.
The couple moved in when James J.
Duderstadt became president in 1988 and
renovated a year later, replacing carpet,
wallpaper and some furniture to make the
house look brighter. But the historical charm
of the house remains intact.
Walking around the house, Anne Duder-
stadt points out rooms added by Presidents
Harlan Hatcher, James Angell and Alex-
ander Ruthven. For her, these men and their
families are more than just names on build-
ings - pictures of the presidents and their
families hang on the wall by the staircase.
"These are my friends," she says, laughing.
The first floor blends a ceremonial Uni-
versity showcase with a private family
home. In among the historic dining room
table, the piano played by Leonard Bernstein
and the fireplaces once used to heat the
house are a collection of memories and
On either side of the entry hallway are the
diningroom and the living room, both deco-
rated in light yellow tones with white car-
peting and walls.
From the street, the living room is on the
right, and leads into the sun room in the
front corner. Here, the dark wood floors
with white berber area rugs of the hallway
and living room give way to dark red tiling.
The room is filled with windows, as de-
signed by President Marion Burton.
"At that time, all these windows would
have been open and there would have been a
breeze," Anne Duderstadt said. "But, since
then, all thewindowshavebeen painted shut."
The sun room is dominated by a full-size
piano, with Mendelssohn and other classical
sheet music ready to be played. Underneath
the piano lives Omar, a large stuffed camel.
"He's a friend of the family," Anne
Duderstadt said. "My husband and children
have allergies, so we can't have dogs and
cats. So we have a lot of stuffed animals."
Anne and the Two Bears: Anne Duderstadt, withTeddy and Big Al, two of the three stuffed bears who live in the president's study.
Getting ready: On the back porch of the President's House, the tea cups and silver are out in
preparation for a luncheon today. Through the door is the dining room.
Through the sun room is the plant room.
With windows taking up most of the wall
space, the room is filled with plants in metal
pots on red tile cement shelves. Ruthven
commonly kept snakes in both rooms.
"It is somewhat apocryphal, but he used
to say it was really kind of good training for
dealing with the faculty," Warner said.
The plant room opens into President
Duderstadt's study, where everything says
something about the man who works there.
The bears - named Victoria, Teddy and
Big Al for British monarchs-are seated in
two chairs around a small conference table
facing Duderstadt's large, L-shaped desk.
On the desk is a Macintosh computer; an
IBM computer and a printer sit on a corner
table. The windows look out on the back-
yard, but the Graduate Library looms large
beyond the back fence.
Three exquisitely detailed model ships,
handmade by the president, sit around the
room - artifacts from another time.
"They were from his years on the faculty
when he had a little more time," his wife said.
The dark wood walls are decorated with
personal awards, including a certificate from
Phi Beta Kappa and the 1986 Outstanding
Engineering Award from the Professional
Engineers in Education, and letters from
heat and air conditioning in the 23-room
house. The'basement ceiling is a web of
pipes and machines that regularly leak and
"The problem is, when they added on,
they had no idea the house would last this
long, so they put the plumbing behind the
walls," she said. "Now, when we have
leaks, which is all the time, sometimes they
have to tear the walls down."
The heating and cooling equipment used
to be in the attic. "But, then, a couple of
years ago, they noticed the roof was coming
apart from the house and the heavy equip-
ment was pulling the attic down," she said.
"Old houses are great."
Anne says she spends most of her time in
the kitchen. She does all of their cooking.
"We don't eat very well," she says, laugh-
James Duderstadt does some cooking -
he makes an apple pie. "He makes his apple
pies every fall for the deans," Anne
Any receptions or meetings at the house
When the house was originally built, the
front faced what is now the Graduate Li-
brary. That large front porch has since been
enclosed. There is another dining table there,
also ready for the reception with tea cups
and silver bowls of holly. The glass panels
open to an inlaid slate porch. Anne
Duderstadt said they rarely use the room.
"You get a nice
view of the Graduate
pace Library and they get a
nice view ofyou," she
you said. "I can stand here
and wave to students
toliVe and they wave back."
The dining room
table seats 17 and the
porch only 10, mak-
Anne Duderstadt ing it difficult to host
ance problems in large dinners.
?resident's House The most interesting
room of the house is
the library, built by
Angell as a study. Now, the room is domi-
nated by a Christmas tree, wrapped presents,
and a train set running around it.
* 1840 - Built as one of four identical
houses for professors.
! 1852 - Tappan moved in.
* 1858 - Gas lighting installed.
* 1864 - Haven added a one-story kitchen
.. People complained it spoiled the
house lines and allowed unfavorable
odors to permeate the parlors.
-+ At some point during Haven's tenure,
a third story was added, adorned with
sawed brackets favored during the Civil
War. It also Included a widow's walk,
unusual for an inland house.
! 1871 - Indoor plumbing installed as the
final stipulation of James Angell before
he became president of the University.
* Angell also installed a hot air furnace.
-+ First indoor plumbing in Ann Arbor.
! 1891 - West wing added to give
semicircular library and more bedrooms.
The dining room and the living room
were made from two pairs of small rooms
on either side of the ground floor hallway.
* 1891 - Wired for electricity. A barn,
orchard, and vegetable garden remained.
! WWI - House was made the
headquarters for the Red Cross.
a Students came regularly to roll
! 1920 - Burton moves in the vacant
house, since Hutchins was the only
president not to live in the house. Added
a sleeping porch on the second floor and
a sun room. The backporch was enclosed
into a dining area.
! 1921 - Mrs. Burton opened the house
for three freshmen teas to welcome the
* 1930 Ruthven began a series of
students teas at the house so he could
meet and talk to hundreds of
undergraduates a year.
+ Ruthven added a glassed-in plant
y Hatchers added glassed-in porch and
stone terrace in the back.
A ±07r) - Ar~lA fin tho hitinnn Pan t
Bush and Reagan.
But the book-
shelves, packed with
refuse to define the
man who is the 11th
president of the Uni-
versity of Michigan.
Duderstadt, a nuclear
engineer, keeps acol-
lection ofphysics and
books, but also has
on his shelves Dante,
to visits but
on all the mainten
William Faulkner, Margaret Atwood, Plato
and Shakespeare. The hundreds of books
range from "Foucault's Pendulum" to
I. *' \ v'