The Denison University Homestead—Home Sweet Home!

By Resident Tom Gallant —

Recently, a group of 16 Kendal residents and two Kendal staff members visited the Homestead to learn about this Denison University treasure. Interest was high, for many Kendal residents had been unaware of the existence of the Homestead, an alternative to traditional student housing at the University. Established 40 years ago by students who wanted to live simply and close to nature and whose goal was environmental sustainability, the project was nurtured by committed students and advised by a Professor of Biology, Robert Alrutz.

Not visible from state Route 661 and lying just north of Granville, the Homestead is secluded in the woods at the end of a rough, up-hill path. Students and visitors must park their cars in a parking area near the Denison red cycling barn and walk, bike or ski (?) to their destination. The Homestead started with just one building, constructed by students, and with no electricity, central heating or plumbing. Water was drawn from a well, and a limited amount of electrical power was generated by a small windmill. In more recent years, electricity has been provided by the local power company, and indoor plumbing has been developed. Moreover, a large solar field is now visible near the Homestead entrance, and a number of solar panels can be seen on at least two of the buildings. These are evidence of Denison’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

The residents’ trip to the Homestead was organized and sponsored by Kendal’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Current Homestead advisors Linda Krumholz and Kim Byes, assisted by two of the eight current student residents and also by an early student founder, Richard Downs, conducted a tour of the facilities. They pointed out student gardens, a greenhouse, the early “outhouse,” a chicken house, solar panels, the hot water heating shed, house interiors and more. It was a fun and instructive trip, but most of us felt fortunate to be able to return to our warm and dry Kendal residences!!

Homestead house