I always heard that Orson Welles was born in my hometown of Kenosha, WI but never searched for his birthplace until after I lived in California for many years. I finally found his birthplace one cloudless, warm and breezy day in July of last year.
My dear friend Gena and I visited a librarian at the Simmons Library which is close to the landmark. The Simmons Library is also famous for ghosts that haunt the stairwells. I got a quite informed tour of such apparitions though no contact with the netherworld at that time.
The librarian said the Welles’ house was on a corner next to a white house. There’s a rock in the front yard with a plaque. We walked around seeing lots of white houses with lots of rocks in front to no avail. Finally, when all hope was lost, we said, “Mr. Welles, give us a sign!”
Not even seconds later I spotted a blue house and I said, “Is that it?” Gena said, “It sure is!” We crossed the street and found the plaque on the rock. You don’t get a sign clearer than that.
Welles wasn’t raised in Kenosha, in fact he wasn’t too fond of the city. He said, “I don’t blame my folks for Kenosha. Kenosha blamed my folks for me.” But if Welles saw his quaint home by the newly renovated shores of Lake Michigan, he might change his mind.
His home is kept humble like any other house on the street. It hasn’t been made into a museum or preserved by the city. It still houses a family with a bright red motorcycle in the driveway, perhaps their own version of God’s little garden.
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