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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Century old house moves across a cornfield
The move drew hundreds of onlookers
Click to Enlarge
Staff Photo by Ken Bradley: This century old house inches its way across a cornfield last Wednesday morning from its Route 40 West original location.

Monday, December 17, 2012

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

A 100-year-old house, which has been undergoing renovations since March, was moved a quarter-mile Wednesday across a cornfield off Route 40 West to its new location.

The house moving across the field drew hundreds of onlookers as the remote controlled dolly system slowly inched its way along.

The two-story dwelling belonged to Silas Holland, who was born and raised in the house. It was just a stone's throw from the brick home where he now lives on Route 40 West, about three miles from Rocky Mount.

Initially, Holland planned to have the house burned down by the Rocky Mount Fire Department to get rid of the old structure and to give firefighters practice, he said. But his offer was declined.

"That was when Andrew Bowman offered to raze the house," said Holland. "But after he came and looked at it, he said he would be willing to move the house to property he owns and renovate it, inside and out. So I gave it to him to move it."

Much of the outside of the house has been renovated over the past months, including new vinyl siding and a new bright red tin roof. All new vinyl windows have also been installed.

Some inside renovation was done before it was moved to its new location Wednesday.

The house was moved by Wolfe House & Building Movers, headquartered in Pennsylvania, using a Buckingham Power Dolly System, according to Tim Heffley. The structure was placed on the dolly system and slowly moved using a handheld remote to control direction and speed.

The dolly system is powered by a diesel motor and uses a unified jacking system to keep the structure level as it moves across uneven ground, Heffley said.

Thursday afternoon, the two-story house was hoisted onto its new foundation that Bowman had constructed in advance.

Once the renovation of the house is complete, Bowman plans to rent it.

The house has six rooms, three downstairs and three upstairs. The original walls inside the house downstairs were made of logs and covered over by wooden siding on the outside, Bowman said. At one time, the house had a dirt floor.

Holland is one of 10 children who was raised in the house, he said. His parents were Alfonso Lester Holland and Lucy Holland. His siblings consisted to two sisters and seven brothers.

"I remember we heated the house with a large wood stove," Holland said. "The bedrooms were upstairs, and our sleeping arrangements were three brothers to a bed in the winter. That helped keep us warm. The mattresses were made of straw tick."

When the house finally got electricity, Holland said there was one light bulb hanging from the ceiling in each of the downstairs rooms.

"And we had four electrical outlets in the entire house. Upstairs, we had to use lamp oil lanterns to see at night," Holland recalled.

"Now that the house had been moved, I think I'm going to miss it," Holland said Wednesday as he watched the house being moved across the cornfield to its new location.

"But I'm glad it's saved," he added.

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Weichert - Click for Website
Angie McGhee-Quality Realty - Click for Website
Robert Deatherage - Asst. Commonwealth Atty - Click for Website