LINDSBORG — “It is easy,” said Dwayne Mastre, co-owner of Unruh House Moving, of Galva, as he watched a two-story house roll down the street on a truck.
But it sure looks hard.
About two weeks ago, workers with Mastre’s company put beams under the house at 800 N. Kansas, then jacked it up and rolled it over to a trailer. The house sat on a trailer next door until Thursday, when the trailer was hitched to a truck and rolled down the road to its new home at 134 S. Washington, nearly on the other side of Lindsborg.
The 1,344-square-foot farmhouse was built in 1898 with 10-foot ceilings on the first floor and three large bedrooms on the second floor. The house had been in the Anderson family since it was built by Aleda Schreiber’s grandfather, who was nicknamed “Watermelon Anderson” because of the crops he grew. Anderson Field at Bethany College is named after a member of the family.
Schreiber sold the property in 2015 or ’16, said Ron Rolander, a Lindsborg real estate agent and longtime friend of the family.
The city of Lindsborg and the Smoky Valley School District bought the land to use for a ballfield, and the house had to be either moved or razed. The house sold for $1 at auction.
A walking pace
That’s where Jim Prugh came in. Prugh, a historic preservationist from the Denver area, bought the house.
“I opted to save it. Why throw away history?” he asked. “It’s obviously really well built.”
Prugh has a history of saving buildings. About 10 years ago, he started buying buildings in downtown Lindsborg and restoring them. He now owns about half a dozen.
It took about two hours to move the house from North Kansas Street to its new home, about 4 miles in a roundabout route. The truck moved at a comfortable walking pace, stopping every so often while a power or cable line was dropped to let the house pass.
It got off to a bit of a rocky start as it crossed a ditch, but it settled down and the rest went smoothly, Mastre said.
This morning, he said, Unruh will put the roll beams back under the house and set it on its new basement. It costs from $18,000 to $25,000 to move a house that size, Mastre said.
Prugh plans to retrofit the house with new insulation, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning and electrical systems for a family residence.
There already is a house on that lot, and that will get its share of attention, too. Later additions will be removed, leaving the original house that was built of stone in about 1879, said Gary Shogren, director of community development for the city of Lindsborg. That makes it one of the oldest dwellings in Lindsborg, another piece of history for Prugh to save.