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Goerz House placed on National Register of Historic Places

September 11th, 2017

The Newton/North Newton Historic Preservation Commission is proud to announce Harvey County's latest addition to the National Register of Historic Places. Goerz House, 2512 N. College Avenue in North Newton, was placed on October 31, 2002. The home was placed based on its architecture and the historical significance to David Goerz and the history of Bethel College. There are currently sixteen properties located in Harvey County that are listed on the National Register. Designed by Elbert Dumont, a Wichita architect, this Queen Anne style home was built for David and Helene Goerz in 1893.

David Goerz was instrumental in organizing the Mennonite Teacher's Conference of Kansas, which led to the organization of the Kansas conference that later became the Western District Conference. During this time he was in the midst of the discussion among Kansas Mennonites regarding the possibility of a new school. In 1878 he and six others opened the Emmental School for one year. Upon closing of that school Goerz organized the Halstead Seminary. Due to lack of funds that school was later closed. During this time "The Newton College Association" offered "to build and maintain a first-class college in Newton." A special session of Conference was called in which David Goerz, Bernard Warkentin and J.J. Krehbiel were appointed to the task of accepting the offer and forming an association.

In October of 1888 the cornerstone was laid for the college. David Goerz served as the first business manager until ill health overtook him in 1910.

Goerz Hall was used as the primary residence for David Goerz and his family until his death in 1914. In his obituary the Evening Kansan Republican printed the following obituary:

Founded Three Institutions - Rev. David Goerz' life was one of constant achievement. The memorial address by Reverend Kliewer was a most eloquent one, in which he told briefly of the life of the great worker, Rev. Goerz, and of some of his achievements in his work for the good of his fellow churchmen, the Mennonite people, in settling in this country, his work in founding the college and Bethel hospital, and the Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co., and his faithful laboring for the maintenance of these institutions.

Goerz Hall has served many purposes over the years. Currently it is the private residence of E. LaVerne Epp, President of Bethel College, and his wife Marilyn.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.