Kempf House Museum, Ann Arbor
Henry DeWitt Bennet was the postmaster of Ann Arbor during most of the 1850s. In about 1853, Bennett had this house built. Bennett was later the secretary and steward of the University of Michigan. In 1886 Bennet retired and moved to California, selling his house to a neighbor. The neighbor rented it out for a few years, and in 1890 sold the house to Reuben and Pauline Kempf.
Both Reuben and Pauline Kempf were musicians, and they give music lessons in their house. Pauline taught vocal lessons and Reuben gave piano lessons. The Kempfs were very active in the community music events. Pauline served as the choir director of the Congregational Church, and Reuben was the first organist and choir director at St. Andrew's. Reuben also served as the music director of the University Glee Club and the Michigan Union Opera.
The Kempfs turned their house into a local center for the musical arts often hosting diverse groups from students to dignitaries. Among their guests are musical figures such as Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Victor Herbert, and Ernestine Schumann-Heink. The Kempfs lived in the house until their deaths: Reuben's in 1945 and Pauline's in 1953.
In 1969 the city of Ann Arbor acquired the house and turned the house into a historic museum. The house has been restored, and includes a music studio that looks as it did when the Kempfs were first giving lessons. The house is open for tours weekly.
The Bennett House is a frame, 1-1/2 story, temple style Greek Revival house sitting on a brick foundation. The facade has four massive, squared Doric columns, along with three frieze windows and a graceful tympanum. A small, two-room addition holding the kitchen, built in the 1890s, is attached to the rear.
Kempf House is open for guided tours on Sundays 1-4pm (except holidays), from September through December, and April through May. Tours are also available by appointment for groups or individuals. Admission is free.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Ann Arbor. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Kempf House Museum on Map
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