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Historic house relocating brick by brick

Staff writer

Not all of the stones remain.

The Bartel House, built 136 years ago, is a shell of its original form.

Glen Kliewer, on whose property the historical house teeters, said some of the stones are gone. Kliewer does not think the missing stones were necessarily stolen; he just knows that not all of them remain on his property anymore.

“Most of them are here,” Kliewer said Tuesday evening, shortly after the Hillsboro city council decided to move the Bartel House, brick by brick, into town.

The council is looking for a work crew to collect the 110 tons of stones from Kliewer’s property north of town, place them on 55 pallets, wrap them in plastic, and transport them to the Public Works Yard on North Adams St.

“The museum board is concerned that people don’t go out there and pick up the stones and walk off with them,” City Administrator Larry Paine said.

Heinrich Bartel constructed the Bartel House in 1879 and carved his name in white stone above the front entryway. The stones, quarried by hand and hauled to the site by horses or mules, were tucked into place by Bartel using a pulley system with the assistance of horses.

In 2006, the museum board announced it wanted to raise $175,000 over four years to rebuild the house at the site of the Mennonite Settlement Museum.

Now, museum officials want to either rebuild the house with more fundraising or erect a monument to the house using the stones, Paine said.

The Hillsboro Museum Board, with $36,500 held in trust specifically for the Bartel House, is paying for the relocation. Museum board members originally considered moving the stones to a location that required a rental fee, but Paine said he balked at the idea.

“I said no,” Paine said. “That would open up the probability of greater insecurity and lack of control over the stones.”

Mayor Delores Dalke said that several years ago the Kliewer family gave the stones to the Hillsboro Museums. The stones each received a number, marked with a wax marker.

However, those numbers have washed away over the years, leaving only the smooth stone rubble on Kliewer’s property.

Peggy Goertzen, a former museum board member, said that members of the Bartel family and museum officials are working together.

“We are trying to gain momentum in gathering interest and funds for a very long time,” Goertzen said. “The Bartel House is an important piece of the Mennonite story and the story of architecture and home building in Marion County. It’s something recognized to be important enough to be preserved.”

In other business:

  • The council condemned the former Prime Time gas station at 200 East D St. as an unsafe or dangerous structure. The owner of the building has 30 days to begin repair or demolition work, or the city will do it.
  • The council passed a resolution in favor of keeping school board elections in the spring and nonpartisan. The resolution is in response to the state legislature considering changes.

Last modified Feb. 18, 2015

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