Family moving 100-year-old structure 1 mile
PHILO – Bryan Lewis' new house will spend the weekend in his family's soybean field.
The 100-year-old house sat at 107 N. Lincoln St. until Friday, when an Indianapolis-based company slid the house off its foundation and onto a special trailer for the diagonal haul across farmland to its new location at 411 W. Monroe St.
Along the nearly one-mile stretch, the trailer hit a soft spot and got stuck.
"They've reassured us it's going to be OK," said Lewis' mother, Connie, who noted that the company plans to return on Monday to continue the work.
Neighbors said two waterways run under the soybean and corn fields, which are owned by Connie Lewis' mother and cousin. The property was passed down from Connie Lewis' grandfather, Harry McHenry. He bought more than 100 acres of farmland in 1948.
Connie Lewis learned last year that her cousin wanted to sell the house. Though she and her husband live in Schaumburg, Connie Lewis was interested. The couple had moved from the Champaign-Urbana area in 1994.
"I want to re-establish my roots," she said.
But she liked the location more than the house.
"The view is spectacular," Connie Lewis said.
She bought it with the intention of razing it and building a new home, but at the suggestion of her husband, decided instead to give it to their son.
The cost to move it was under $50,000, she said, but "it's worth it because we're able as a family to be together. Family is important."
First, though, it needed a new location.
The village of Philo approved a request by the McHenry family in March to annex more than an acre of land at 411 W. Monroe St. Once the property was annexed, it was sold to the Lewises.
Connie Lewis has lived in Philo since January, preparing for the move.
Earlier this month, the movers hauled a large shed to the new location; Bryan Lewis, 25, said he expects to move into his new place next week.
"It's an opportunity to have a huge old house that's in really good condition for being 100 years old," he said.
The two-story house is between 2,500 and 2,700 square feet. It has four bedrooms upstairs and four large rooms downstairs, Connie Lewis said.
Several people watched the move, which began after 1:30 p.m., from their front porches or from cars parked along Lincoln Street. But by 2:15 p.m., the house was stuck.
Longtime resident Dan Conley drank a beer and watched the activity with friends from the tailgate of a truck parked at a house along County Road 18. He had been by twice to see the move.
"It's the biggest thing to hit Philo in a long time," Conley said.