By Devin Rose
An Oak Park couple has purchased and plans to restore Ernest Hemingway's boyhood home at 600 N. Kenilworth Avenue, according to a statement Tuesday from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.
Kurt and Mary Jane Neumann have lived around the corner from the home since they moved to Oak Park in 2006, and were intrigued when the home went on the market earlier this year.
"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, a Chinese medical practitioner, educator and entrepreneur, in the statement. She owns Ginkgo Acupuncture in the village's Arts District.
Her husband, a business lawyer in downtown Chicago, said he was thrilled at the idea to raise their two sons in a home with such a sense of history.
The first steps toward restoration, Mary Jane said, are to reopen the master stairway between the first and second floors and repair the exterior. She said they see the restoration to its intended use as a single-family home, as a multi-year project and a labor of love.
The Neumanns would also like to work with the foundation to open the home for occasional viewing and research purposes.
John Berry, chairman of the foundation, said he looks forward to working with the family.
The Hemingway family moved into the home in 1906. Ernest lived there from ages 7 to 17 with his parents and five siblings, and began developing his first novel, A Farewell to Arms, during that time.