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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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New Kendall School

New Kendall School

GRHC - November 2nd, 2011

A bequest in the will of Helen Miller Kendall established the David Walcott Kendall Memorial School in 1931. The school carried on the work of Kendall, one of the world's prominent furniture makers.



A new school of art opened its doors in February of 1931. Established through a bequest in the will of Helen Miller Kendall, the school was a memorial to her late husband. The David Wolcott Kendall Memorial School honored the man who was a furniture designer, art lover, and prominent furniture maker in Grand Rapids for over thirty years.

The Kendall School, originally located at 145 Fountain St., was not limited to the woodworking and furniture designing arts. However, that curriculum brought, and has continued to bring, aspiring furniture designers to Grand Rapids for the last eighty years.

Mr. Kendall’s own personal genius kept him always striving for something better, more artistic, and more beautiful. He studied chemistry to learn how to stain and treat wood, and by creating “antique” oak, he did much for the reputation of oak furniture.

He was one of a group of picked men sent by a Detroit newspaper publisher to the Paris Exposition in the 1880s, where he acquired many ideas for furniture. Not the least remarkable fact about Kendall was that in addition to artist, idealist and dreamer, he was also a very practical and successful businessman.

Prior to 1931 there was no place in Grand Rapids, either public or private, for talented young men and women to pursue art as a career. It was for the encouragement and training of those exceptionally gifted students that the Kendall School was established.

Full Details

TitleNew Kendall School
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, radio, Podcast, Kendall College, Helen Miller Kendall, David Kendall
Pubdate StringNovember 2nd, 2011

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