Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Garage Hits the Road

So, have anyone of you seen a building moved?  I have occasionally seen them rolling down the highway but usually what I see are mobile or manufactured homes.  Moving an existing building is something that has been hard for me to imagine.  Before my childhood house was torn down there was some casual interest in someone moving it and I truly could not imagine the spectacle.  How could such a thing be possible?  A structure that has stood on its foundation for 100+ years?  Well, that didn't happen but this weekend Justin's cousin met us at the farm because he is going to move the old garage of my youth. 

We didn't have an attached garage so, besides farm buildings for tractors and trucks, this was our garage.  We never parked in it unless a hail storm was coming but it was where the lawnmower, our bikes, other toys and plenty of other junk lived.  Our cat and dog food was in there and it was where they took shelter in the winter (see the pet door on the right).  It has been a well maintained and generally functional building and it still in good shape but it is obstructing the new driveway and "fancy" attached garages so they have wanted it gone for awhile and Ryan was interested and said he could move it. 

My parents were gone for the weekend but they cleaned it out and it was ready to move.  It has been around since my dad's childhood.  My grandpa built it out of boards from someone's old barn so the wood is very old.  Before the newer steel buildings came along this was his main shop where he worked on his farm equipment and it still had the chimney from the wood burning stove.  He had a habit of keeping farm related records by writing them on walls (as a young teenager my dad helped convert an old granary into his next shop which now houses my dads water tanks and the walls of that shop are covered with notes). 

These are the oldest on record, dating back to 1962.  You might be shocked to hear this but his mom was a scrapbook keeper so I've seen his old elementary school report cards and he received C's in penmanship. 

Back to the process...there was originally a wide electric door which ended up being damaged during the great ice storm/blizzard of 1997 that preceded the flood of 1997.  The motor was fried due to our generator malfunctioning. After a few years of manually opening that heavy thing my dad replaced it with a single lift door and a regular door for entry so that section of new wall had to be removed so Ryan can reattach it when he places the building on it's new foundation. 

You can see lots of wires but don't worry...the electricity to this building has been cut for awhile. 

It was finally time to start lifting. 

You can kind of see the reddish color left of the old barn in these pictures. 

Now it sits like this until Ryan comes to load it on the trailer.  Seeing it raised is quite fascinating and it seems like the impossible is possible even though I know many more complicated buildings can be moved this way.  It kind of is amazing to me how such an old building can be in such good shape.  I read on a North Dakota history blog that the act of giving a structure a curved roof like this can give it an indefinite life as opposed to flat roofed buildings which rarely stand the test of time.  It helped that my parents kept the shingles in good shape over the years and my brother most recently shingled it with a friend but that was probably 10 years ago.  And that cement is still smooth and even after all these years.  My mom was saying they might connect it to the new driveway if they can get the raised part around the edge off.  There is barely a crack in it. 

All that's holding it up is railroad tie blocks!  Eeek!

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