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updated: 3/6/2014 1:54 PM

Historic Kinder House reopens for tours in Des Plaines

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  • The Kinder House, operated by the Des Plaines History Center, is reopening for public tours after budget cuts forced it to close about two years ago. The house's interior is a reflection of life in 1907, when it was built by hardware merchant Benjamin F. Kinder.

       The Kinder House, operated by the Des Plaines History Center, is reopening for public tours after budget cuts forced it to close about two years ago. The house's interior is a reflection of life in 1907, when it was built by hardware merchant Benjamin F. Kinder.
    Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 

History buffs will be able to take a step back in time again at the historic Kinder House in Des Plaines, which has reopened for public tours.

The Queen Anne architectural style building, constructed in 1907 as the home of hardware merchant Benjamin F. Kinder, has served as the Des Plaines History Center's museum, and at one time, office headquarters.

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But a grim financial situation led to the Kinder House's doors closing a couple of years ago.

Now officials say the history center is in a better financial position -- thanks to subsidies from the city and park district, and donations from individuals and businesses. The cash flow has allowed the center to hire a full-time curator, who has been responsible for rebuilding museum exhibits and training volunteer docents.

Tours of the house's first floor, which includes the parlor, sitting room, kitchen, dining room and pantry, are available from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays.

The tours, which are free, begin in the history center's visitor center next door at 781 Pearson St.

The curator, Philip Mohr, says the house is a reflection of living in 1907. It contains a sewing machine and towels left by the Kinder family, as well as other period pieces, many of which have a connection to Des Plaines.

"It was built at a time when Des Plaines really was starting to develop as a suburban center," Mohr said. "It's among the oldest (buildings in Des Plaines)."

The house has sat at 789 Pearson St. since 1978, when it was relocated from 777 Lee St. to save it from redevelopment. The history center has operated the building since 1968.

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