The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

History

September 27, 2013

The House That Went Up the Hill

(Continued)

 

So, they spent a lot of money, time, and effort to move their home eleven blocks up 5th Street and ninety feet up the hill. They placed it majestically atop the bluff, on Woodlands Drive on an exquisite lot which most Clintonians have never seen! Trees had to be trimmed and wires moved to bring it up 5th Street. They left all the furniture inside and, so the story goes, a glass of water was placed on the kitchen table and, if they spilled a drop, the job was free. YEAH, RIGHT!!

 

The Crowe Brothers from Chicago spent all summer moving the home. They used a special roller system and jacked the house up inch by inch. Mules pulled the house a few feet, then they jacked it up some more. Such expertise no longer exists, and besides, who would pay the enormous cost!? But the Lambs added some new porches and fabulous shrubbery, and continued to live in the home for many years. Then it passed to Ike and Vincy Carnes and then, later, to historian Ed Zastrow, as an apartment house. After that, it tragically burned down.

 

Kids marvel that anyone would go to such extremes to move a house! Today, someone occasionally moves a house, but it was common back then, when time, materials, and labor were relatively cheap. Many things were done in a time-consuming and labor-intensive manner that we wouldn’t do today. In fact, contemporary people hardly blink when structurally sound buildings are torn down so that another business can build a newly-designed one on the same spot!

 

If something sounds strange to them, kids will frequently ignore the concepts history could teach them. I recall showing a picture of the house going up the hill to some children and hearing one ask, “How did they get it around the Congregational Church?” Children also seem to believe that folks who lived long ago were homely, unskilled, and didn’t have much fun! …. To which we need respond, “Well, how did you get here then? - And so smart, too?!”

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