Warkentin House repairs moving forward

Chad Frey
The Kansan
The Warkentin House, which serves as a museum on East First Street in Newton, is needing a little TLC this fall — work to fix cracks in the ceilings in  a pair of rooms.

The Warkentin House, which serves as a museum on East First Street in Newton, is needing a little TLC this fall — work to fix cracks in the ceilings in  a pair of rooms. 

There will be a fundraiser to assist with the project from 4 to 6 p.m.  Sept. 12, when the house will host a food truck and a concert by the Flannelbacks. If weather is good, the band will play on the house's front porch. 

The city commission approved the repair project this week. 

The house is individually listed on historic registers, and is part of the McKinely Historic district as well. The Newton Historic Preservation Commission has reviewed the proposed work and approved the project. 

The home is currently owned by the city of Newton. Bernhard Warkentin who constructed the home, was known as a miller. In addition to that business, he also served as a leader in banking and insurance, among other industries. He was a founder of Bethel College and engaged in philanthropy in the community before his death in 1908.

"It is operated by the Warkentine House association and ther eis a board that operates the house," said Suzanne Loomis, director of public works for the city of Newton.  

The board has selected a construction firm to seal cracks on the celing of the parlor room and cove in the house. The association will pay for the repairs, while asking the city to oversee the job. 

The cost of the project is more than $8,600. 

"We would run the project through the city, to take care of all of sales tax exemptions," Loomis said. 

The city will act as a proxy, paying contractor from city funds that are fully reimbursed by the Warkentine House Association.