This is some party house. Kettering Health Network, Dayton, Ohio, last week bought the 8.6-acre estate and mansion of industrialist Col. Edward Deeds, a friend and collaborator of the four-hospital system's founding patron and namesake, Charles Kettering.
Outliers: Kettering's new party pad
Kettering President and CEO Frank Perez says the nearly 46,000-square-foot house will be used for system and community functions. And when those begin, guests are sure to marvel at the wood paneling Deeds removed from his yacht before turning it over to the Navy in 1940 for use during World War II, a 12-foot grand piano, a pipe organ, an indoor shooting range and an observatory with a clock-driven refractor telescope. Perez says there’s ample parking, which is good, because Deeds’ private airstrip is long gone.
Kettering Health paid $2.5 million to acquire the property, called Moraine Farm, from NCR (the asking price reportedly was $8 million), which has packed up its headquarters and left for Duluth, Ga. Deeds was an engineer for NCR and later served as its chairman. The company at the time was called National Cash Register Co. and was the maker of the earliest versions of the machine.
The house on Moraine Farm originally was built as a barn in 1912, and served as the workshop and playground of Deeds and his peer group of inventors and entrepreneurs, who became known as the Barn Gang. In the barn, Deeds and Kettering, another NCR engineer, cooked up an improved automobile ignition system and founded Delco.
Moraine Farm is Kettering Health’s second historic mansion. In 1974, Kettering’s daughter-in-law Virginia Kettering donated the family home, Ridgeleigh Terrace, which overlooks the Deeds estate to the west and Charles F. Kettering Memorial Hospital to the north. It now houses Kettering Health’s corporate offices. Perez says Virginia Kettering often told him, before she died in 2003, that she wanted the system to own and preserve the Deeds property. “When this was available, we thought it would make a lot of sense for us to round out our holdings,” Perez says.
Perez says the land gives breathing room for possible expansion of the Kettering Memorial Hospital campus, though none is planned at this time.
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