David Goerz House

2512 College Drive

North Newton, KS 67117

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This Queen Anne-style home was built in 1893 as the residence of David Goerz and his family. The home was designed by Wichita architect Elbert Dumont. Goerz was a central figure behind the establishment of Bethel College. Goerz was born in Berdianak, located in southern Russia, in 1849. He began teaching at the age of 18. In 1871, he married Helene Riesen and together they would have nine children. He was a close friend of Bernhard Warkentin and, at Warkentin's urging, immigrated to the United States in 1873. He first settled in Illinois, where he was editor and publisher of the Zur Heimath, a Mennonite newspaper. In 1875, he moved to Halstead, where he continued publishing his paper. Goerz had a leadership role in the formation of the two Mennonite institutions of higher learning that led to the establishment of Bethel College in 1887. He also can be credited with much of the fundraising done to build the first building on Bethel's campus, the Administration Building, as it is known as today. He was selected as the first business manager of the college and held that position until 1910 when he resigned due to failing health. In 1897, he served as a minister for the Bethel College Mennonite Church. Goerz was also involved in the creation of Mennonite Mutual Fire Insurance Company and was vice president and large stockholder in the Newton Milling & Elevator Company. In hopes of improving his health, Goerz moved to California after he resigned from Bethel College. The North Newton home was passed on to his son, Rudolph Goerz. Rudolph was manager of the Newton Milling Company and was known for entertaining, often sharing meals with students. In 1921, when the need for student housing became of importance, Rudolph sold the home to Bethel College for less than its value. Joseph Kesserling took a position at Bethel in 1922, teaching voice and leading the men's and women's glee clubs through 1924, and likely lived in the Goerz House during his time at Bethel. Some of it's architectural details are said to be prominent in the set of the classic play "Arsenic & Old Lace" which Kesserling wrote in 1939.


It was dedicated Goerz Hall later that year. It served the college as housing for staff and students until 1963 when the Mennonite Western District Conference used it for their offices. It remained office space until 1988. It was then restored, and by 2002 it had been designated as the home of the college president, which it continues to function as today.

This 1901 photo shows the Goerz House title= Today, the Goerz House serves as a residence for the Bethel College president title= This 1922 photo shows David Goerz, a founder of Bethel College title=


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