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Woman buys, relocates grandmother's old house

Staff writer

For Marlene Richards, life came full circle Wednesday when her grandmother’s house, where she spent her childhood Christmases, was settled onto her property in Hillsboro.

Clusters of people gathered in the cold morning air to watch as Unruh House Movers of Galva lifted the home onto the back of a semi and painstakingly moved it from the corner of Grand and Washington Sts. to N. Cedar St.

Police officers and fire chief Ben Steketee provided traffic control, cars and pickups pulled over to watch the spectacle, and utility workers raised or removed lines to clear the way for the oversized load as the house made its way along the route west on Grand to Main St., north to 1st St., west to the cooperative, through the cooperative lot to Cedar St., then south to the corner of 1st. St.

Richards said the four-bedroom, two-story house built in 1896 was one of the first houses in Hillsboro.

She spent every childhood Christmas there. Other families owned the home after her grandparents, but she and her husband, Tom, were able to purchase it several months ago.

They’d have settled into the house where it originally stood, but decided to move it to “the home place” where Tom built a large shop.

It replaces a house that stood on the Richards’ property and was cleared to make way for this one.

Richards said they spent eight months planning for the move.

Three of her cousins came to watch the voyage and set-down of the house.

“My 103-year-old aunt wanted to come see it, but couldn’t,” Richards said.

Watching the truck carry the beloved house was often nail-biting.

“This is really making me nervous,” she said as the loaded semi drove onto a low spot next to the house’s open basement.

When the semi was alongside the east wall, pistons lifted the trailer into position for the house to be removed from the truck and set in place.

Workers stacked pylons in the basement to help with shifting the house onto its new foundation. Friends and neighbors came to ask Richards questions.

It will be about a month until the Tom and Marlene Richards move in, she said. Water, electric, and sewer service need to be installed and the furnace needs to be hooked up and running.

Last modified Jan. 14, 2021

 

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