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Improvements are underway at Pioneer Village

A couple of buildings were up in the air at Kenmare’s Pioneer Village last week.

10/10/12 (Wed)

On the level . . . Duffy's Drive-In building, home to popular exhibits
at Kenmare's Pioneer Village, will soon be settled onto a new, level
foundation. Wet ground below the building caused extensive
heaving and floor damage in the structure's west end, which
can be repaired once Duffy's returns to a stable surface.


By Caroline Downs

A couple of buildings were up in the air at Kenmare’s Pioneer Village last week.

Duffy’s Drive-In and the Modin Blacksmith Shop were perched on pillars of wood after the Happy House Movers of Bottineau jacked the buildings above the ground, where water and shifting soils were damaging the floors of both buildings.

Fat Boys Construction was working last week to stabilize the soil surface and pour new foundations. “These will be just like the Niobe Hall and the Bintz House,” said Robert Shelton Sr., of Fat Boys Construction. “We did those, too.”

Shelton described how 16-inch footings would be set around the edge and through the middle of the surface below Duffy’s, with rebar reinforcing the concrete poured there for a foundation.

The structure should stabilize the large building. “The floor was heaving extensively on the west end,” said Bryan Quigley, president of the Lake County Historical Society which oversees Pioneer Village. “Once the building is back onto the foundation and level, we’ll have floor repair to do.”

Shelton said the new foundation would make a significant difference for the upkeep of the building. “This will be a permanent fix,” he said. “It should last 50 to 60 years.”

A small cement slab would be poured for the blacksmith shop. “We need to get that up and out of the water,” Shelton said, referring to the water-logged soil beneath the buildings. He noted his crew had packed the site with loads of additional dirt in preparation for the concrete work.

The foundation work started October 1st, with Shelton scheduling a small pump truck to pour the cement. He was assisted by Robert Shelton Jr. and Mike Carter, and the crew expected to finish the job by October 8th or 9th, depending on weather conditions.

Shelton estimated the cost of the project to start at $10,700. “That includes the rebar for Duffy’s, the material and the labor,” he said, adding that once Duffy’s was returned to a foundation, new seal plates might be needed around the base of the building, for an additional cost.

According to Quigley, the Lake County Historical Society received a $5,000 donation from Kenmare Veteran’s Club, Inc., to help cover expenses for the project. The historical society will also tap proceeds and contributions from the Pioneer Day events and raffle held in July.

Pioneer Village is now closed for the season, but donations to the site, and this foundation and repair project in particular, are welcome. Anyone interested in supporting a project with volunteer labor or financial resources can contact Quigley at 701-467-3444.

All jacked up and no place to go . . . The Modin Blacksmith Shop
at Kenmare's Pioneer Village has been raised above the soil surface
to accommodate the Fat Boys Construction crew as they pour
a new concrete foundation for the building.