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Built around 1897, this was one of the first residences constructed in what was planned as a fashionable residential suburb on the south edge of Goshen known as Parkside Addition. The real estate developer was the Inter-Urban Land Co. which was raising funds to build an electric railway connecting Goshen with towns further south. Insurance agent George Rich and his wife Emmaline Dill Rich were among the first purchasers of property in Parkside and built the stately Victorian home, having moved into town from their farm property. As such, it helps illustrate the aspirations and tastes of those "boosters" of the town's development. When the town of Goshen became interested in attracting Goshen College's predecessor (Elkhart Institute) to Goshen in 1903, it arranged for the transfer of numerous unsold building lots in the Parkside Addition to the college. The sale of these lots helped finance the college's move and initial construction. The post WWII-boom in campus enrollment and staff led to a need to provide additional housing and other physical space quickly. In 1947 the college purchased what had been the Rich residence from Rich's grandson Arthur Beck. The structure was quickly put into multipurpose use: dwelling for a young faculty family, housing for six students, and the office of a newly-established Mennonite Research Foundation.
The model of combined faculty and student residence was followed in several other similar houses purchased in the immediate vicinity of the campus. Such houses, including Kenwood House, proved instrumental in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the college expanded student residence options to include models of co-educational small group housing units. In 1980, Goshen College became the first undergraduate institution in the United States to establish an educational exchange with the People's Republic of China, and Kenwood House met the criteria necessary to house groups of visiting Chinese English professors each academic year. Kenwood House continues to serve as small-group student housing. In renovating the structure several times, the college has maintained its exterior appearance, helping preserve the early 20th-century feel of the residential neighborhood immediately north of campus.
Miller, Susan Fisher. Culture For Service: A History of Goshen College, 1894-1994. Goshen, IN: Goshen College, 1994.
Umble, John S. Goshen College, 1894-1954: A Venture In Christian Higher Education. Goshen, IN: Goshen College, 1954.