Cast iron grilles in an ancient Greek floral motif highlight the frieze of this temple-front Greek Revival house. Built in 1853 for Henry D. Bennett, Secretary and Steward of the University of Michigan, it became the home and studio of local musicians Reuben H. and Pauline Widenmann Kempf in 1890. Trained in Germany, Mr. Kempf (1859 – 1945) taught piano and organ, Mrs. Kempf (1860 – 1953), a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory, taught voice. The city of Ann Arbor purchased the house in 1969, and in 1983 it became the Kempf House Center for Local History.
I like old wooden churches. Sometime the paint is flaking off, but it seems real, many older churches were covered in plastic vinyl siding, I know its “maintenance free”, but it just comes off a machine somewhere and stuck on, wood is natural, and came from a tree that was grown with the sunlight from heaven and watered with Gods love. Protecting the wood, is paint applied from a brush with human hands. I also like that you can still see the corner stone laid in 1881 A.D.
The historical marker reads
“This skillfully designed board and batten Gothic Revival church, first served local Episcopalians in 1880. The congregation had been formed in 1871, the year the town was incorporated. During the 1870s Caro grew to be a major commerce center for the Thumb Area. By the 1920s, however, church membership dropped and the building was sold to the Nazarenes. In 1974 preservationists saved the church from demolition.”
Peter DeWitt Bush (1818-1913), the second permanent resident of the village of Caro, donated the site for the village courthouse square in 1866. Then he, along with two other pioneer settlers, moved an old frame church to the site to serve as the county’s first courthouse. In 1873 the county replaced the former church with a brick courthouse that served the community’s needs until 1932, when the present Art Deco style structure was completed. Designed by Detroit architect William H. Kuni and built by Cecil M. Kelly, a Caro native, the courthouse is faced with Indiana limestone. Situated on the same site as the old brick courthouse, this $180,000 structure was completely paid for when it was dedicated on January 24, 1933, by means of a one-mill, five-year tax levy.
This building is one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Michigan. St. Stephen’s parish was organized in 1844, and construction of the church began almost immediately. Hiram Raymond of Hamburg was the contractor, and building funds were solicited in the East and in Europe. Donations were received from Hamburg, Germany, the native city of some of the parishioners. The clean delicate lines of the church and the interesting tower make this one of the state’s most intriguing churches.
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Michigan Historical Marker
First Presbyterian Church in Bay City
In 1848, James G. Birney and his wife led Bay City’s earliest Presbyterian services in a schoolhouse. Birney twice ran unsuccessfully for president of the U.S. on the antislavery ticket. The Reverend Lucius Root organized the First Presbyterian Church of Lower Saginaw on September 5, 1856. Services continued to be held in the schoolhouse and other public buildings until the first church was built in 1863. In 1886 church elder Alexander Folsom donated $50,000 for the founding of a college in “northern” Michigan. His donation funded the organization of Alma College. In 1906 the college established the J. Ambrose Wight Memorial scholarship fund in honor of First Presbyterian’s minister.
In 1884 the Reverend J. Ambrose Wight challenged the members of the First Presbyterian Church to “go forward and build a church that will be a lasting gift to the future.” The Reverend Wight (1811 – 1889) feared that Bay City’s prosperity, gained through the lumber and salt industries, would not last. When the church was dedicated on June 4, 1893, the Bay City Times-Press declared it a “Magnificent Temple.” Like the City Hall, which was build four years later, the Ionia sandstone church was designed in the Richardsonian style by local architects Pratt and Koeppe, and reflects Bay City’s wealth at that time. The bell, cast in 1866, served as a public timepiece and tolled three times daily.