Historic Wichita home moved to new location

WICHITA, Kansas – It’s not something you see every day.

“I have never seen a house move before, and so I was really excited to see how this was going to happen,” said Jeff Schueler.

Schueler was talking about a historic Wichita home that was moving to a new location.

“It’s just amazing. We’re used to seeing cars and trucks and to see a big house, especially this vintage roll down the middle of the street, it’s an amazing experience.”

The movers said it was rare to see a house this big moved

The historic Betzen House was moved in Wichita on Nov. 22, 2015. (Photo by KSN's Shardaa Gray)
The historic Betzen House was moved in Wichita on Nov. 22, 2015. (Photo by KSN’s Shardaa Gray)

The 113-year-old house had to move to make room for an expansion of the QuikTrip convenience store at Broadway and Murdock.  QuikTrip bought the home from the Betzen family for more than $200,000 for that expansion project.

“In addition to that, they were so gracious as to extend an additional $125,000 to pick it up, move it, buy a new lot, dig a basement, pour a foundation all those kinds of things,” said Greg Kite, the president of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Wichita.

That labor of love included work from Crews like Westar Energy, the City of Wichita, the Wichita Police Department and a tree-trimming company.  All of those partners helped take down and put back up power lines, traffic lights and tree branches.

The house weighs about 240,000 pounds. If you add in the truck, that’s around 300,000 pounds. It’s the largest house Unruh House Moving Company has ever moved, and one of their biggest obstacles was turning right on to 13th from Broadway.

While they faced obstacles maneuvering the house around Wichita, saving it is what mattered most to the community members and people who grew up in it.

“Having the house preserved is really important to the family and it was important to our parents,” said Ron Betzen who live in the classic Victorian home. “They were very proud of the house.”

The house will stay on the moving truck for the next two days.  Then, it will be placed on its new foundation.

To view a photo gallery of the home being moved, click here.

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