Couple renovating Kulm building into offices, residenceLorne and Mary Liechty spend much of their time in Texas or Florida, depending on the time of year. Kulm, N.D., is where they want to be for at least part of each summer. The couple now own a historic building in the town, the First State Bank building, and are restoring it.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Lorne and Mary Liechty spend much of their time in Texas or Florida, depending on the time of year.
Kulm, N.D., is where they want to be for at least part of each summer. The couple now own a historic building in the town, the First State Bank building, and are restoring it.
Lorne is an attorney. He and his wife buy investment properties and he asked his daughter, Sarah Gackle, to keep an eye out for something in Kulm.
“I like old community buildings where you have retail on the bottom and residential space on top,” he said.
Gackle called her dad when she heard the building was up for sale.
“This building is exactly what I was looking for,” Liechty said.
He bought the building last spring. The couple hired local contractors to renovate the first floor of the building into office space. Mary Liechty said the structure was built in 1906 and was intended to be a bank.
“It went through several different uses including a post office and medical clinic,” she said.
Lorne said he is an ardent history buff and he has a personal connection to the building.
“My mother grew up in Kulm. When she was in high school, she would spend the night in the apartment with the lady who rented it out,” he said. His mother would stay there if the weather was bad or if it was late because the family farm was a long ways outside of town.
The couple are looking for tenants to occupy the office space. Mary Liechty said community members would like some tradespeople and medical providers to come in and set up shop.
The upstairs will be turned into an apartment for the couple to use when they visit. “We may rent it out on a short-term basis when we are not there,” she said.
The exterior of the building will be restored to its original look as much as possible, according to Mary.
“Our first exterior project will be repairing the back wall, which has deteriorated some over the years,” she said.
“My husband grew up in Kulm,” Mary said. They met while both were attending Oral Roberts University and married soon after. Lorne’s job took them to Heath, Texas, a suburb of Dallas where they raised a family.
The family did not spend every summer in Kulm. When they did, Mary, her sister-in-law and their children would pack up a trailer and drive up to Kulm. They would stay at the MainStay Hotel and eat at the Kulm Café.
“My sister-in-law with eight to nine kids and myself would spend the first few days by ourselves,” she said.
“It was always interesting to see my husband arrive and take a look at our bill from the café,” she said.
The family usually spent a week to 10 days in Kulm. Mary said her husband’s boyhood hometown offered a sense of security and freedom she did not feel in Dallas.
“You could let your children go outside and play, ride their bikes to the park,” she said.
Anyone wanting to learn more about the building may go to http://www.facebook. com/1NorthMainStreet.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454
or by email at email@example.com