Fraternity living room
The large, lovely building at 1923 Geddes Avenue, the home of the Anthroposophical Society in America, draws quite a lot of attention in the neighborhood. The gardens are certainly a magnet for that attention. We also have the hearts of all the neighborhood children as they walk to and from the local elementary school a few blocks away.
The curving semi-circular walkway from the sidewalk to our front door and back to the sidewalk, meanders through the garden, making a wonderful detour for kids on foot or bicycle. It’s not a shortcut, mind you, but an adventure. We also realized recently we have become a favorite rest stop for the running team of the local high school. They run up our walk and in our front door for a cool drink of spring water from the foyer. Many visitors stop by throughout the day: people drawn by curiosity about the building itself or the Society which it houses or by nostalgia for the place they lived during their student years at the University of Michigan.
Fraternity formal dinner dance
The beautiful building which is our home, was built as the Acacia Fraternity, in 1923, for the sons of Masons attending the University of Michigan. A message is engraved on the corner of the building which says (in Greek), “For the good of humankind.” Recently, the two daughters and a grand-daughter of one of those fraternity boys from 1934, came by to visit the site of their father’s and grandfather’s early life. What was fascinating was the photo album they had with them with pictures of the house from that earlier era. There were numerous pictures of rows of earnest boys, all dressed up in tuxedos, with their dates in long formal gowns, for all of the dances that were held in what is now - the lecture room. When they weren’t dancing in it, the room was a lounge, with leather couches, a pool table and a moose head over the fireplace. Quite a change. We enjoyed the walk down memory lane with these ladies who were thrilled to discover the building was not only still standing, but lived and worked in with such purpose.
The Rudolf Steiner House has become a busy place, even on weekends when the offices of the Anthroposophical Society are closed. Of course we have many anthroposophical events taking place in the House: lectures, plays, festivals, eurythmy classes, research groups, business meetings, class lessons, workshops etc. But, we also rent the House to numerous community groups for a large variety of happenings. There are many workshops and trainings, for various body-work techniques, meditation, Waldorf education, and different kinds of movement. We have also hosted cello recitals, christening receptions, silent retreats, cooking demonstrations, and classes.
The people attending these events from out-of-town are able to rent a room in the House for the duration of their stay. In addition, people stay here when they are visiting their students at the U of M, when they have appointments with the anthroposophic doctors in town, when they are in town for weddings or the annual Art Fair. Always the feedback we get is the same: the House is beautiful to stay and work in; people get a peaceful and grounded feeling from being here; the affordability of the rooms makes attending the events possible for many people; we are so much better than a hotel! We have many patrons bringing warm wishes and gratitude through our building.