Christman Construction Company. Since 1894.

Concordia University

Earhart Manor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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  • National Register
  • Construction Management at Risk
  • Historic Restoration and Renovation
  • $1,960,000
  • 17,240 s.f.
  • SmithGroup
  • June 1997

The Earhart family Manor House was built in 1935, now houses the administrative offices of Concordia University, a four-year liberal arts college. The facility that is now known as the Otto G. Schmid Center adds an extra dimension of charm and elegance to the beautiful Concordia Campus.

“Our driving philosophy in the restoration of the manor has been to preserve it is as a residence, rather than remodel it as an administration building,” said James Koerschen, Concordia president at the time of the project. “When you walk into the manor, it should look like a home.”

The campus offices are housed in the servant’s quarters, preserving the residential character and the historic fabric of the manor’s most elegant rooms.

The estate features Pewabic tile bathrooms, chandeliers plated in sterling silver, wood-paneled rooms with hidden panels and secret passages, and an ornate central staircase. The building was originally designed more like a commercial building than a residence, constructed of structural steel and reinforced concrete. As a result, the new mechanical and electrical systems could be installed without major structural alterations.

The steel windows were reglazed, the mahogany paneling varnished, and historically appropriate furnishings were added. Throughout the manor the plaster walls have been repaired and painted with their original color schemes and the slate floors were refinished. An elevator was installed and bathrooms were updated to comply with current access codes. On the exterior, cracked or missing slate roof tiles were replaced, the stone was cleaned, the lead-coated copper gutters were repaired, and new step flashings were installed. The manor’s four limestone-capped brick chimneys were cleaned and repaired.

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Earhart Manor
Earhart Manor