Barrington house move a slow-mo road show
A sunny day and a house parading by on a truck drew a Main Street crowd that came equipped with snacks and even champagne to watch the slow show Sunday in Barrington.
A 19th-century building made the move from 118 Wool Street through the heart of town to Barrington Hills resident Jeff Baustert's property. On hand for the move was Mel Schroeder, 94, who grew up in the house and lived there until 1946, when he got married.
The hourslong move drew a crowd on foot, bikes and golf carts.
One couple brought a table and chairs and sipped champagne as the spectacle went past.
Ellen Roy of Barrington brought more conventional snacks as she sat to watch with Rainey, 9, and Goodwin, 8.
"It's a big adventure for any little kid to see a house move down the street," Roy said, as Rainey gave the event a thumbs-up.
"They'll probably never see this again," Roy said. "We live in a historic home, so it's kind of cool to see someone picking up a historic home and moving it."
Heritage Movers of Mt. Hope, Wis., and Badger Contracting of Elkhorn, Wis., handled the slow-motion journey, carefully dodging tree branches and waiting as overhead lines were moved out of the way.
"I came and looked at it and thought, why not? It's a nice old house and we can get it there," said Mel Birrueta of Badger Contracting. From Main Street, the truck bearing the yellow house turned left onto Oakdene Road and then onto Oakdene Drive to its destination.
Once a barn and most recently a hair salon, it now will become a guesthouse.
Schroeder recalled a different era when he lived in the house.
"People didn't have everything they have got today," he said, and his mother did not work at an outside job. "My mom was home all the time I was home."
But the family had boarders, he worked "a lot of odd jobs" and the 1929 stock market crash brought hobos begging for food. "We were lucky we could eat."
He's been invited to "christen" the house with a champagne bottle once it's renovated on its new site.
"I would like to see it again," Schroeder said.
The Wool Street site will become a parking lot for Moretti's Ristorante and Pizzeria, which is set to open in the former Wool Street Grill and Sports Bar.
Baustert is a filmmaker who recently documented the conversion of Barrington's 119-year-old White House from a former residence into a cultural arts and community center.
"There's something about preserving and using old buildings and keeping them alive," he said.