"Preserving and maintaining a historic house museum is an ongoing process to resurrect the past and spread the stories it has to share."

The History

In 1885 Robert Jeremiah Whaley and his family moved into their home at 624 E. Kearsley Street. Whaley had hired Detroit-architect George Watkins to design an extensive remodel of the house, which transformed it from the 1859 Italiante (seen right) into the stylish Victorian home pictured at the lower right. When the family moved into the new house the family consisted of Robert, his wife Mary McFarlan Whaley, their adopted daughter Florence , and Robert's teenage half-sister Laura. The Whaleys joined several other prominent Flint families who lined Kearsley Street in ornate Victorian styled residences.

The Legacy

In addition to preserving the house and collections and providing relevant history programs to our visitors, the museum tries to live up to the benevolence and civic-mindedness of the Whaley family. Their generosity and care for Flint is evident in the legacy they left behind. Although not remembered in the same way the pioneers of the auto industry have been, the Whaleys gave generously. A donation to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in memory of their deceased son, Donald, resulted in the creation of the Whaley Children's Center as a home for Flint's needy for children. Additionally, Mary Whaley left their residence to become a home for elderly women upon her passing. Her trust created the McFarlan Home, as well as helped to defray the costs of living there for its residents. Mary wanted elderly women left with no family members to care for them to find a comfortable place to live out their lives. Both of these institutions still exist today with the mission of helping those in the Flint community. We hope that our institution, though not created by the Whaley family, reflects the love they held for our beloved city.