Pair hopes to preserve Hubbard House by relocating piece of Olathe history

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OLATHE, Kan. -- A page from the past may be new again.

Olathe residents have been lobbying for an old house, which has roots that date back to the Civil War era, to be protected, or risk getting the wrecking ball. Thanks to one man's generosity, the Hubbard House, which sits on S. Parker Street, has a chance chance to live on.

It’s being called a gift that will benefit everyone in Olathe. Bridget and Damon Taylor operate the Trilogy Cultural Arts Center, where dozens of young people are involved in local theatre productions. They’re making plans to move the Hubbard House, and its history, which dates back to 1885, from Parker Street to another side of Olathe.

"It's so beautiful," Bridget Taylor told FOX 4 News.

Taylor, a native of the Greater Chicago area, says she's getting the Olathe house at no cost. However, there's a catch -- it has to be moved to someplace else. Tim Allen, the present owner, who was busy clearing trees on some adjacent property, confirmed that he's giving the Taylors the old house, saying he wants to see local history preserved.

"We feel it's a gift. It's a God thing," Bridget Taylor said. "It's a God thing that this gentleman said, 'It's yours.' Now, it will really be a God thing if we are able to raise the funds and get it moved and find a property to move it to."

When those new apartments are built, a road will run directly through the center of the property. The Taylors say they're busy raising money to load up the Hubbard House, and give it a new home, where they'll use it to teach local young people about Kansas history, in addition to studying the fine arts.

"What we hope to instill in the kids is an appreciation for the past, as well as investing in their futures. Having something from the past plays a big role in the investment their futures is like a double-fun great thing we're going to be able to do," Damon Taylor said.

Bridget Taylor says it's going to cost around $50,000 just to move the house, and then, the non-profit group will need more money, dogeared for a lot, a new foundation and all new wiring, since the house is more than 100 years old.

"It's an amazing opportunity," Isaac Moreno, one of Trilogy's board of directors, said on Monday afternoon.

Moreno says he's grateful for the huge donation, but the building cannot be moved without a lot of help from the public.

"We think about it as -- we're helping kids. We're helping our community. We're keeping history alive in our community and giving kids a chance to be part of something big," Moreno said.

Bridget Taylor adds that a local contractor has volunteered his company's time to oversee the project. She also says Trilogy Cultural Arts Center plans to work closely with city officials and utilities professionals to move power lines, which will allow for the old house to be moved in one piece.

And none of it would happen without one man's kind donation.

"Once it's gone, it's gone. They don't build houses like this anymore," Bridget Taylor said.

The city’s planning department is in OK with this move. Emily Carrillo, a spokesperson for that office tells FOX 4 News the city is in support of efforts to preserve local history. The Taylors say they haven't been told of any deadline they'll need to meet in order to spare the old house from demolition, but they plan to finish as soon as possible.