After receiving national attention, the future of Lincoln’s “free” house has gone from bleak to bright. To save the house from demolition, Eddie and Julie Flores will move the house to a new location a few miles away and rehab it as their new family home.
ABOUT THE HOUSE
Built in approx. 1910 by W. J. Grubbs, an early business leader in the community, this beautiful 2,023 sq. ft. Dutch Colonial house is in MUCH better condition than the street view would suggest. The first floor has a large living room with fireplace, parlor, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. A wood staircase with half-round window leads to the second floor with three large bedrooms and a bathroom. The entire house has wood floors and all oak and pine trim is in original condition.
The property is owned by the Lincoln County Hospital & Healthcare Foundation (LCHHF). While they appreciate the history and beauty of the house, the large lot is slated for future use by the hospital located across the street. The LCHHF has offered the house to anyone for free with the only condition being it must be moved somewhere else; otherwise, they plan to demolish it.
EFFORTS TO SAVE THE HOUSE
In an effort to save the house from demolition, the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF) created an informal committee to try and find the house new owners who would move it and rehab it. A local volunteer made a $1000 good-faith deposit to the LCHHF to buy the committee time, until the end of 2022, to find a new owner. If a new owners wasn’t found by the end of 2022, it would be demolished.
The LCEDF identified potential funds and resources a new owner could use to help with the move and rehab including:
- Secured $30,000 in grant funding from a Moderate Income Housing grant received by the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation
- Identified the house as eligible for the Register of Historic Kansas Places which could open up state historic tax credits for the rehab work
- Identified several ‘free’ parcels within the community that the house could be relocated to
- Determined eligibility for the City of Lincoln’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program which could provide a property tax rebate if the house were to remain within city limits
While the committee worked to find a new owner, the house received national attention. It was featured in the story “Would you take free land in rural America?”, written by Mark Dent at The Hustle, a source for business and tech industry news with 1.5 million subscribers. It was also highlighted on the social media channels for CheapOldHouses, For the Love of Old Houses, and other similar pages.
From this media attention, the LCEDF received hundreds of calls and emails from people interested in saving the house. There were so many calls the committee quickly realized they needed a way to filter all the interest into a process that could help to identify top candidates. The process they developed included:
- Creating an initial “Interest Intake Form” with some basic questions about the individuals and their plans. The committee had nearly 100 submissions.
- Identified approx. 35 individuals from that list and requested additional information about their plans and intent. Of the 35, nine responded with all requested information.
- Selected the top candidate from the nine. Over the past month the candidate has been working to secure the property the house will be moved to, financing, and contractors coordinating many other details.
After over six months of searching, we are pleased to announce Eddie and Julie Flores will be the new owners of the house. Julie grew up in Lincoln but currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and family. They are excited to move to Lincoln and live the rural life in their ‘new’ old house!
If you have any questions about the house or the search for new owners, please contact Kelly Gourley, Director of the LCEDF, at LcedfDirector@Outlook.com.
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