Moving a House to the Maasdam Barns

How a house became our Museum/Visitor Center

A House was moved and was made into our Museum/Visitor Center.

A Museum/Visitor center was needed.  None of the original farmhouses still existed, so another building was needed to act as a Welcome Center.

It happened that a suitable house in downtown Fairfield was available. Built in the 1920's, the Flinspach/Bonnent home at 107 W. Briggs Ave was relocated the barns site for use as a Museum, Visitor Center, and Gift Shop.

Sept 26, 2008:   Plans are made to move this house to the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm.

West side of the house, at the corner of W. Briggs Ave and 2nd St.
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The move finally took place April 29, 2009.    Here is the story (photos below).

It was a grey and misty morning, but the little house was all ready to go.  The kind workers had gently lifted her off her foundation, where she had been for 82 years, and placed wheels under her.  Now they were waiting for the 1957 Mack truck, and as soon as the traffic cleared, they would start her journey to her new home.

For she was no longer wanted at W. Briggs Ave. They needed her lot for parking.  But it was getting too busy here anyway, and when she got an invitation to move to an old farmstead, she jumped at the chance.  The three old barns wanted her there, to welcome visitors and tell stories in her museum, about the farms history and early Fairfield industries related to agriculture, and to provide housing for a caretaker.  She would have a purpose again!!!

But power lines and big trees blocked the way.  It was only about a mile down Main Street, but they told her she was too tall and it would be too expensive.  She thought she would never get to the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm.

Then some clever men figured they could remove her roof and take her the long way round down country roads.  She agreed immediately.

Soon she felt the old Mack truck pulling her down the road, people watching and waving, through the construction zone, flashing lights in front and back.  She smiled at all the fuss she was making.

When she got to the farmstead, a new foundation was waiting, but the rains had created a muddy mess, and the old Mack had to get help in getting her located just right.  After a while she felt herself being gently pulled onto the foundation, then all the people left.

She was lonely, but later that night the old barns gave her a hardy welcome, and she felt better, and men came back and replaced her roof and fixed her up better than she had ever been!

She laughed with joy that the clever men had been able to get a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs through the Great Places project to help her move to her new wonderful place in the world.

The end.    Or rather, a new beginning.

The front and rear porch roof shingles will be installed after the gables are painted.
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Her garage was able to join the house at the farm.
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Most of the roof was removed to enable it to get under utility lines. traffic signals, etc.
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This vintage 1957 Mack truck is still on the job.
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Moving down Burlington Av, the main highway through Fairfield.
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The house turned left onto 32nd St, heading south to Libertyville Rd.
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Moving south on Highway 1, almost to the final location.
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Pulling the truck and house into position through the mud.
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Sliding the house onto the foundation from the trailer.
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We thank everyone who helped us move this house.

PART TWO

Keep scrolling to see more photos of the house move.

This house was moved to the Maasdam Barns site to become our Museum & Visitor Center

January 18, 2008 -- News item from 1570 KMCD, Your Hometown Station
by Emily Humble, News Director

Further Plans for the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm

Plans for the Maasdam Barns, located on Highway 1 south of Fairfield, include moving a house to the farmstead to serve as a welcome center to Fairfield and the barns. At this time, Dick Reed says negotiations are still taking place to move a specific house to the location that fits the time period of the barns.

Sept 26, 2008 - plans are that this house, on Briggs St at the corner of 2nd St, will be moved to the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm (Maasdam Barns site).

Front and east side of the house.
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Front (south side) of the house. Note the garage in the background.
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Back of the house.
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West side of the house.
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Mural in the background is painted on the back wall of the Sondheim Center.
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Feb 2009 -- The foundation for the house has been completed at the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm (Maasdam Barns site).

Feb 2009 - The foundation is ready.
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The house will soon be moved to this foundation.
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The foundation is near the front of the farmstead, next to Hwy One.
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This garage was moved from the house lot.
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April 29, 2008 -- News item from 1570 KMCD, Your Hometown Station
by Scott Jackson, News Director

House Moved To Maasdam Barns Through Fairfield

Fairfield officials were in it for the long haul, so to speak, in order to move a house from just north of the city square to the Maasdam Barns location on the south edge of town Wednesday morning. The house, which has been in the process of being raised and enforced to be able to be moved from its former location at Second and Briggs to a foundation at the Maasdam Barns site next to the new Jefferson County Health Center, took plenty of work from law enforcement officials and other county and city leaders as well as some patience for travelers of a few Fairfield and other Jefferson County roadways.

The wide house could not be driven directly down Highway 1 from its former location due the measurement restrictions and other safety concerns, leading to a detour to be taken for the house throughout the mid-morning hours. Officials took the house from Highway 1 south to Business Highway 34 before heading westbound down Burlington Avenue onto 32nd Street near Fesler's Auto Mall.

From there, the house went down 32nd Street onto the Libertyville Road before heading back onto Highway 1 and onto the Maasdam Barns location. Local travelers were asked to obey travel being restricted on those roadways at times and Iowa Department of Transportation work, which is currently continuing milling and pavement replacement along Burlington Avenue toward the western side of Fairfield, held up Wednesday's operations until the house was taken safely by.

Mural in the background is painted on the back wall of the Sondheim Center.
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The house, at the corner of Second St and Briggs Ave, is ready to go.
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Most of the roof was removed to enable it to get under utility lines. traffic signals, etc.
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The old foundation will be filled in.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009, was cloudy. The movers are preparing the house.
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Utility lines need to be raised a little.
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This vintage 1957 Mack truck is still on the job.
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Heading south on Second Street.
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The Post Office, on Broadway Ave, is in the background.
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Turning right onto westbound Business Hwy 34 (W. Burlington Ave).
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Utility trucks waiting on Burlington Ave at 6th St.
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The house had to maneuver around the traffic signals at 6th St.
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The intersection at S. 20th St.
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The mover is Kramer Construction from West Point, IA.
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Road construction on Burlington Ave was halted to let the house go through.
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Just past 22nd St.
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Approaching 28th St.
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Traffic has built up behind the house.
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The house turned left onto 32nd St, heading south to Libertyville Rd.
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The house then turned left onto Libertyville Rd and is heading west.
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County Supervisor Dick Reed is walking.
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Some low-hanging tree branches must be dealt with.
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Utility trucks are still standing by at the rear.
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The branches were removed and they have reached Hwy 1.
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Turning right onto Hwy 1 South.
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The house has turned right into the Maasdam Barns farm site.
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The ditch was temporarily filled in with dirt.
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It rained last night and it drizzled this morning.
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The truck needs help getting through the muddy ground.
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The cribbing is ready in the foundation.
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The house must be positioned exactly.
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The wheel dollies have hydraulic jacks.
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Two steel I-beams will let the house slide onto the foundation.
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The I-beam at the back of the house is in place.
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The I-beam at the front of the house is now in place.
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The house is starting to slide over the foundation.
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The crane on the back of the truck is pulling the house with a chain.
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The house must be positioned exactly.
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The house rides on four bearing plates. See a close-up in the next photo.
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Checking to make sure the house is positioned correctly.
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The house will now be jacked up so the cross I-beams can be removed.
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The cross I-beams were removed and the house was lowered onto the foundation.
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The front porch has to be supported before these I-beams are removed.
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Same for the rear extension of the house.
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The I-beams were removed and gables are being installed.
In case you can't tell, the telephone pole is not growing up through the house.
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Also, more work needs to be done on the front porch.
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The front and rear porch roof shingles will be installed after the gables are painted.
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Our thanks to everyone who helped us move this house.
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Photos by Jeff Fitz-Randolph

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