- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

KEMPTON, Ind. (AP) - The owner of an Indiana home built by former President Barack Obama’s great-great-grandfather hopes it will get more visitors after a renovation.

The old farmhouse, known at the Dunham house, has seen few tourists since it opened to the public in 2011, the Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/2jJ7adL ) reported. The house was built by Obama’s great-great-grandfather, William Riley Dunham, and the family lived there for 120 years.

Obama’s mother was a Dunham, but she and former president never lived in the house.

The owner, Shawn Clements, said the home is easier to find since improvements were made to the road leading to the historic property in Kempton. There have been several improvements, including refurbished red pine floors, pocket doors and crown molding.

Clements purchased the property in 2003 but didn’t know its history until 2007. He said the house was in terrible shape when it was first purchased and had been used for storage.

Over the years, Clements has had some challenges with the property, 50 miles north of Indianapolis. It’s located in a county in which President Donald Trump received 74 percent of the vote.

Vandals have thrown beer bottles at the house and dumped garbage in the yard. Clements planted a large vegetable garden with the idea of giving the food away, but a local soup kitchen declined his offer.

Clements said he gets complaints about Obama.

“I think some people think I have a red phone on my desk I pick up and have a conversation (with Obama),” he said. “I don’t.”

Obama, along with a busload of reporters, visited the home just days before the Indiana primary in 2008.

Brent Cardin, a board member of the Dunham House Educational Foundation, which provides scholarships to college-bound Hoosiers looking to study history, said it may become more palatable to residents in the rural, strongly Republican region.

“The further away they get from office, they become less political, and the emotions of the political arena sort of fade from view,” Cardin said.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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