Kurt and Mary Jane Neumann have purchased Ernest Hemingway’s Boyhood Home.
The local Oak Park family plans to restore the home, a 3-flat since the 1930s, to it original intended use as a single family home.
“It’s a gorgeous home with a rich history, and we are excited about the opportunity to return it to its former glory,’ said Mary Jane Neumann. The Neumanns have lived
around the corner from the Hemingway home since they moved to Oak Park in 2006, and love the neighborhood, schools and the larger Oak Park community. Ms. Neumann, a Chinese medical practicioner, educator and entrepreneur, owns Ginkgo Acupuncture in the Oak Park Arts District on Harrison Street.
When the home came on the market earlier this year, the family was intrigued. At the time, they were happily settled in the house where they planned to raise their two young boys. They frequently walked their dog past the Hemingway home, mindful of its history.
“As a young man, I was influenced by Hemingway’s writing and sense of adventure. Like Hemingway, I grew up spending summers in northern Michigan and travelled extensively as a young adult,” said Kurt Neumann, a business lawyer in downtown Chicago. “I am thrilled with the idea of raising our sons in a home with such a sense of history.”
According to Ms. Neumann, “the house has great bones, and our goal is uncover many of its original features. We plan to use the Hemingway’s floor plans as a guide to the restoration. The first step is to reopen the master stairway between the first and second floors and then repair the exterior. Overall, we see this as a multi-year project – and a ‘labor of love.’”
The Neumanns indicate that once the dust settles, they expect to work with the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park to occasionally open the home for viewing and research purposes. Like many of the historic homes in the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District and throughout Oak Park, the home will benefit from having owners who appreciate, and are committed to, historic preservation.
John W. Berry, Chairman of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park said “the Foundation is very happy to welcome the Neumann family into the larger community of Hemingway scholars and admirers worldwide. We look forward to working with the family on the restoration and appreciate their willingness to continue the restoration work done from 2009-2011 through the Foundation’s partnership with Dominican University. “The family’s plan to share the house with the community pleases the Foundation’s Board very much—it promises to be a fine collaboration,” Berry said.
For further information, please contact John Berry at johnwberry @ mac.com