Have house? We’ll travel
Clifford Tessendorf has figured out the ins and outs of moving houses.
After 28 years in the business, Tessendorf said technology has made it possible to lift a house from its foundation with relative ease.
"We have a unified jacking system," said the owner of Valley Moving, Wamego. "We set six jacks under a house, jack it up and bring it straight up."
This, he said, helps prevent walls from cracking.
And, he said, it keeps his company rolling along.
"We keep busy all the time," he said.
Based on the number of moves he's made, Tessendorf said he thought the relocation of a house from the City Ford dealership in Tonganoxie to Reno would go smoothly.
"I'm hoping it will only take a couple of hours," Tessendorf said. "But it varies, depending on the traffic and the wires."
Along the route, Kansas Gas Service employees lifted the stoplights and wires out of the way at the intersection at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Kansas Highway 16 as the truck, trailer and house passed beneath.
Tessendorf said he likes his job because every house his company moves is different.
One of the largest structures Tessendorf has moved was a 135-ton house in Topeka.
"And about six weeks ago we moved a three-story home in Garnett that was built in 1905," Tessendorf said.
Several years ago, Tessendorf did even more work than usual in this area when his company picked up 18 houses from land that is now part of the Kansas Speedway.
That was when he happened upon one of his most difficult house moves in recent years.
"There was one we hooked two 'dozers to and still couldn't pull it across the pasture," Tessendorf said. "So we had to wait until the field dried up."
But usually, the process of moving a house is relatively simple, Tessendorf said.
"We take the furnace out and some of the plumbing, unbolt them off the foundation, and knock holes in the foundation to put our beams through."
Then the house is jacked up and moved.
Tessendorf said anyone thinking about buying a home to move should first check with a house mover.
"It needs to be looked at first to see if it will go down the roads," he said.
Ed and Sylvia Kesinger, who purchased the home being moved to Reno, watched the process last week. In fact, Ed drove a pickup truck with flashing light ahead of the house.
Sylvia Kesinger looked on as their house was pulled off its original location.
"I've never seen a house be moved before," she said.