Getting Your Hands On This Free Mini Castle Comes With A Catch
The Wichita Historical Museum is a small structure with a rich history, and it can be found in the heart of Wichita, Kansas.
The Sutherlands, who bought an old farmhouse in Wichita, Kansas, through an auction in March of 2018, were not in it for the mini castle that was a part of the deal. Instead, they were interested in the old farmhouse itself. Previously owned by John Coultis, a well-known interior designer in the area who passed away suddenly in 2014, and the Sutherlands, who were expecting, planned to fix up the farmhouse to raise their growing family in as the house was the former residence of John Coultis.
As the plan unfolded, there was still one question that still needed to be answered: What was going to happen to the strange white structure sitting in their backyard as a result of their new plans?
The teeny palace, which stands at only around 20 feet wide and 15 feet high, and is decorated within with a retro diner theme, was quite a surprise to the couple as it was about 20 feet wide and 20 feet tall. As described by Rich Report, after contacting a few members of the Coultis family, they were able to discover that the property had once been used as a hamburger joint that closed in the 1980s. It was Coultis who asked to keep the building if he moved it to his land, and the building has been standing there ever since.
The Sutherlands have enjoyed learning about the mini castle, and though they have enjoyed learning about it, they aren't able to take on the burden of repairing and maintaining it. Keeping in line with the building's history, we have been told that if someone is interested in picking up the building and moving it, they may do so free of charge, as a courtesy to the building owner. It has been reported that the Sutherlands have received countless offers by people who are interested in taking over the castle after advertising the deal on Facebook Marketplace.
“We leveraged the power of the internet to find some folks who specialized in historical diners like this one and were able to ascertain the most likely historical background of the building and it’s relevance to Wichita,” Ada tells. The building was probably built by a Wichita-based company, Ablah Hotel Supply Co, which manufactured prefabricated diners during the 1930s for the local food industry. Arthur Valentine took over the company later and it was renamed Valentine's Diners after he took over the company. It is believed, in light of the location, timeline, and the fact that it is shaped like a castle, that this model of prefab diner was influenced by White Castles (the chain began in Wichita in the early 1900s).
In 2019, the couple originally listed the "tiny dine-y" for sale on their website, but as the pandemic hit, interest in undertaking a preservation project dwindled for many who had reached out to them at that time. However, Ada says that there has been another wave of people interested in the castle that has been looking for a new owner once again. She says that they have received inquiries from states all over the country, as well as from as far away as the Bahamas—everyone from restaurateurs and bar owners, preservationists, hobbyists, historians, to artist co-ops, CEOs, HGTV stars, and everything you can imagine in between.
In spite of the fact that the couple was unable to find a taker a couple years ago, they are confident that this time around they will be able to find the perfect partner for them. “Ideally its next owners would carry on its legacy in a public space that brings joy to others, wherever that may be,” she explains. “The excitement people have is wild; we’re just happy to be a part of this diner’s next chapter.”