Historic house finds new home on Oaklawn Way


Jack Dobbs

Workers from Tree Man in Bowling Green lean on their bucket truck and watch as the house is slowly driven up Chestnut St. Personnel on site were busy clearing tree branches as the house drove up the street, and Bowling Green Municipal Utilities workers cleared several power lines for the house as well.

Michael Dylan Payne, News Reporter

After over 100 years, a house that was once home to Art Stickles, is being moved from its original home on Chestnut Street to Oaklawn Way.

The house was built in 1913 and  stayed in the family for years, with his son residing there for some time after the death of Stickles, David Lee, university historian said.

“A long time resident in that house was a man named Art M. Stickles, who came in January of 1908 as a history faculty member, and he was in effect the department head for nearly five decades,” Lee said.  “He retired in 1954 and lived to be quite elderly, (he) died in the house when he was 96.”

Stickles would frequently speak at campus chapel, a daily “chapel service” that was held in Van Meter Auditorium, where students, staff, and faculty met to focus on self-improvement and building the community, Lee said. 

“Stickles was a pretty dynamic figure on campus for a long time,” Lee said.  “He wrote a biography of a Confederate General named Simon Oliver Buchner, and was writing books at a time when not a whole lot of WKU faculty members were writing books.”

Stickles was a commanding presence and one of the most important faculty members at the university, Lee said.

Jonathan Schwer, the new owner of the house, has been concerned about its welfare for about three years and was given an opportunity to move the house, a process that has been months in the making.

“The move is the big day, and we’ve been anticipating this for quite a while now,” Schwer said.  “My vision is to restore it and rehabilitate the interior as a living space for my family and I.  It’s going to be an ongoing process probably for several years, but the idea is to get the foundation back under it and get the front of the house looking nice.”

Over the last four months, Schwer has been carefully removing and labeling the over 700 stones that make up the foundation, before putting them on a pallet where they were moved to the new lot.

A worker with Bowling Green Municipal Utilities patiently directs the machine hauling a house up Chestnut St. (Jack Dobbs)

The reason for the painstaking and tedious work is because of his vision and passion for rehabilitation.  

“The house was built for A.M. Stickles,” Schwer said. “As I understand it, he was in his position at WKU well into his 80’s, so we’re excited to continue his legacy by preserving the house and rehabilitating it.”

The next step once the house has arrived at the lot, is positioning it over footings that have been put in place by the movers and lowering into place, Schwer said.

“Once the house is positioned and the mover has gone home, I’ll build the foundation up to the framing, we’ll grout between the foundation and the framing, at which point the movers will come back out, remove their beams, and I’ll fill in the pocket holes,” Schwer said.  “They’ll position the house at the height the foundation will be.

Ronnie Ward, public information officer for the Bowling Green Police Department, said the move will go down Chestnut, through the roundabout, then turn left on Oaklawn.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid the areas between Chestnut and University Boulevard and the roundabout on Nashville Road near campus, Ward said. Drivers are encouraged to pay attention to road signs and follow detours as they are added throughout the process. 

“Traffic will be re-routed, but the hope is to have passable lanes on Nashville Road during the move,” Ward said.  “The move is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. and last until between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. tonight.”

Michael Dylan Payne can be reached at [email protected].  Follow Michael on Twitter at @dylan_payne