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On Thursday morning a crew of five met at Kenmare’s Pioneer Village to take care of a small task, at least to them it’s a small task.
On Thursday morning a crew of five met at Kenmare’s
The Huwe the House Mover crew led by Kevin Huwe, was in town to move McBride’s Meat Market off it’s wood foundation and far enough away from where it originally sat so a concrete foundation can be laid in its place.
McBride’s is the final building on the
And it comes at the right time. When the “Blue Crew” lifted the building, Huwe was in the back and noticed a familiar site with buildings at
Part of the wood foundation was rotted, so much so that when Huwe kicked it with his foot, the long wood beam that held the back of the building in place, disintegrated.
A couple of poles that were initially placed in the center to stabilize the building, appeared to be intact, but nearly all the wood around the perimeter, had some kind of rot or other damage.
The Huwe crew moves family homes from one point to another so moving an approximate 10 x 24-foot building like McBride’s would normally be an easy task to them.
Still, there were challenges with the rotted wood, but it was quickly overcome with additional jacks and timbers to place under the structure.
“This won’t take us too long,” Huwe said. “We’ll be moving this building in a couple of hours.”
And that they did. After three hours of prep time, McBride’s Meat Market took a little ride, just a little spin, and a very slow one at that. But it was moved about 15 feet to the front of where it sat.
Most people would tell you that moving a house takes a lot of preparation. For Huwe’s Blue Crew, however, it was like a routine.
The crew took large jacks on each of the two front corners and when Huwe said “One,” “two,” “three,” etc., crew members began to slowly lift the structure off its foundation.
When they got it high enough to satisfy Huwe, 2-foot long 4x4’s were stacked under the building to keep it from falling off the jacks since crew members were working underneath.
When that was completed, they took the two-man jacks to the back two corners to repeat the process. Only this time, there was a problem. The jack on the northeast corner had a handle that was too long since there was another building butted up against McBride’s.
The crew member quickly produced a shorter jack handle and Huwe barked out the order, “One,” “two,” “three,” etc. As he spoke, the building slowly began to go skyward.
At one point they stopped, thinking McBride’s was elevated and level.
“I think I want this to go up some more,” Huwe said. “We have to have it exactly level or it won’t move.”
When they finally got McBride’s completely off its foundation with some space to spare, they began their second phase, running long metal, dual beams running parallel under the building.
When that was completed, they lowered the meat market onto metal tubes about six inches in diameter and made out of steel.
Now this is where it gets dicey because at least two crew members were required to crawl under the structure to place the metal tubes, one in front of the other as the building rolled, similar to how the huge rocks were rolled to build the pyramids in
In the front, Huwe himself hooked a chain to the building that was in turn hooked to a skid-steer loader. As Huwe powered it up, the entire building started slowly rolling as smoothly as a rail car.
As they moved McBride’s, it wasn’t completely level and a couple of times wanted to lurch forward. When it did, Huwe quickly moved the skid-steer forward to stop the runaway meat market.
At the same time, the crew members who were under the structure, used small, wood blocks to impede the movement. When it was stabilized, they would repeat the process until the building was completely away from its foundation.
“I think I want to go two more feet,” Huwe said. “We’ll try to stay off private property. I think that should give them enough room to work.” Them referred to a concrete crew that was expected to come to
Huwe said his crew would have to leave the meat market on its new real estate until the new foundation is cured.
After that happens, about two weeks, according to Huwe, the Blue Crew will be back in Kenmare to move McBride’s back to its original upright position.
Museum curator Bryan Quigley said it’s been a slow process, but one by one, all the buildings were taken off their wood foundations and replaced with concrete as funds would allow.
McBride’s was the final part of that project and now that it will soon be completed, volunteers can now look at other priorities on the grounds.
For Huwe and his crew, it was a small job, but he was happy to do it in the name of history... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!