You might be surprised to learn how often kit homes are moved from their original site to a new location.
Judging by the frequency with which these homes are picked up and moved, re-locating a kit home must be,
1) A do-able (albeit complicated) process
2) Financially feasible
3) Historically sensible
4) Environmentally brilliant.
The Sears Lewiston (which is actually a custom-built Wardway design) at BGSU is threatened with demolition. It currently houses the Pop Culture program at the college. Lovingly known as “The Popc House,” this structurally sound building may soon be reduced to a 300,000+ pound pile of rubble on August 7th, unless the college (Bowling Green State University) reverses its decision.
The Lewiston’s major crime is being in the way of a proposed college expansion. If you want to read more about the house and its history, please click here (Part I), here (Part II) and here (Part III).
Not only can kit homes be moved, but they should be moved.
The quality of lumber seen in these homes is something not easily described. In fact, I devoted an entire blog to this topic. In short, the lumber for these early 20th Century kit homes was milled from first-growth trees in virgin forests. We’ll never seen lumber of this quality again. Period.
Some preliminary research suggests that the Popc House at BGSU can be moved off campus and to another site for less than $20,000. What are the proposed costs to demolish this house? Probably not terribly far away from that $20,000 mark.
It’s time for the college to make a commitment to its own history, to its alumni, to the community, and last but not least, to the environment, and SAVE the Popc House.
The landfills of America already have enough old houses.
Don’t add one more.
This Sears Lynnhaven in Muncie, Indiana was moved in the 1980s. This is one of my favorite photos. The Lynnhaven and the BGSU house are probably similar in size and girth.
Sometime in the 1940s, this Sears Roseberry was moved across town. This is a fairly substantial house and the move took place in a far simpler time. This house is in Alton, IL.
This Shadowlawn (Aladdin Kit Home) was moved in the 1980s when a proposed road improvement project threatened it with demolition. The Shadowlawn was a very spacious home. It now sits in Chesapeake, Virginia at Portsmouth Boulevard and Joliff Road.
The Shadowlawn measures 28' wide and 30' feet deep, not including the substantial porch.
In 2002, a Sears kit home ("The Gordon") was threatened with demolition. After an uproar from the local citizens, the house was relocated to a new site. The story made the headlines in the regional papers.
Though not "kit homes," more than 50 of these houses (shown here) were moved from Penniman, Virginia to Norfolk, Virginia, a journey of more than 40 miles, and they were moved by BARGE. And they were moved in the late 1910s. Let's see: If you can move 50 houses 40 miles 90 years ago, I suspect you could move one house a couple miles today.
OF the 50+ houses moved from Penniman to Norfolk, Virginia, several of these homes were large two-story houses (such as the house shown here). Again, it was moved in the late 1910s.
The Penniman/Norfolk houses are shown here, being floated into Norfolk.
The Popc House in Bowling Green State University is worth saving. This historically significant home should not be sent to a premature grave.
To learn more about the kit homes in Bowling Green, Ohio click here.
To sign a petition to save this house, click here.
If you’d like to send an email to BGSU president (Dr. Mazey), here’s her address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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