Most moving companies had their start while moving smaller farm buildings, using pine logs as rollers, or towing on several types of skids and huge wide wooden wheels.
Many of the homes and business buildings mentioned in this story were moved by the Paul Mahler family, whose home and business was the present site of the Spencer House Bed and Breakfast on East Commercial Ave. in Lowell. Son Carl Mahler, whose home was west of his parents, soon joined the firm. The present site of the DeMotte State Bank Branch on East Commercial in Lowell was a pasture (between the homes) that was usually full of large house-moving and bridge-building equipment.
Another well-known moving firm is the Dillabaugh Inc. Now at Crown Point, it had its start when Adam Dillabaugh began moving farm buildings in 1870, then son Charles, who moved the family blacksmith and cider mill from Lowell to Crown Point, took over the business until 1922.
The company has always been in the family through the decades and is now Dillabaugh, Inc., with Dan Dillabaugh as the 6th generation owner. Moving firms began using steam engines, caterpillars and trucks and went from using hand or steam jacks to more modern hydraulic equipment, while huge wooden beams were replaced by those of steel.
During the 1890's the parsonage near the Methodist Church, built in 1870 at the northwest corner of Main Street and Burnham, was moved to a new foundation in the same block on Castle Street. When the congregation decided to build the present church on Commercial Ave., the Blatchley family home, one of the two on the site, was sold in 1922. The new owners lived there until the home was moved to its new location on Oakley Avenue near the Lowell Middle School. Another home on the church site, a brick Queen Anne-Eclectic style, was moved in later years to North Viant Street , making room for the present east parking lot at the corner of Union Street and Commercial Ave. The Methodist Church on Commercial Ave. was finished in 1924 and dedicated in 1925.
The manager of the Dubreuil-Keilman steam-powered grist mill, that stood from the 1880's until 1927 on a side-track between the present depot and the Hardings Company complex, lived in a home high on a hill (now leveled) west of the mill, on the west side of Harding Drive. That house was moved south to the corner of Harding Drive and Oakley St., where it stands today.
Two homes had very short trips. -- In 1956 the present Callahan home at 157 North Nichols Street was moved from its former site on the south side of the lot to a more modern foundation and basement a short ways north. -- The large home that once sat at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Liberty Street was moved to the lot next door south, and the present brick home was built on the corner. Three very sturdy, attractive homes along Commercial Ave. were originally well-constructed barns that were moved from their nearby locations.
Before the Lowell National Bank built a new building (1958) at the southwest corner of Mill and Main Streets (present site of the Moose Lodge), several homes were moved to make room for the new construction. A home on the corner for decades, the home of Frank Maloy, long time Monon Station Agent and Justice of the Peace, was moved west on Main Street to the present site between the Cedar Creek bridge and the railroad. Two other homes from the bank site made a longer trip to 173rd Street near Redwing Lake (Shurte's Marsh").
Twenty years later, the bank had outgrown the Mill and Main Street location, and plans were made to build a larger building at the 600 block of East Commercial. To make room for the larger banking complex several homes were moved, and other buildings, including a church, were demolished. A Queen Anne style home, once the home of John Hack (also was the Hitzeman Haus), was moved from the corner of Commercial Ave. and Union Street to its present location to the south on Lincoln Street. Another large house, which was moved from the northwest corner of Castle St. and Commercial Ave., is now a part of the Zunica Law Office building on Washington Street, near the Lowell Post Office. The Church of Christ building, built in 1870, was demolished and the nearby masonry pastor's home was moved to Harrison Street, near the newer location of the Church of Christ on Burr Street.
The large red barn near the Zunica Law office once stood a few rods away along an old railroad siding that ended at Liberty Street. The siding served a coal yard, implement store, a lumberyard, block plant and a grain elevator.
To make room for the present telephone company building at the southeast corner of Mill and Main streets, a home was moved to its present site on Prairie Street.
Years ago a small house was moved from the present site of the In Touch Therapies & Retreat (618 East Commercial) to its present site on Kankakee Street.
A large house was moved from its Washington Street site to Main Street (west of railroad) when progressive Lowell businessman Glen Bolt built his large new business building in 1950, now a part of Costas Foods.
Before a business building was constructed on the southwest corner of Joe Martin Road and Commercial Ave. near Evergreen Park, another home was moved from there to Harrison Street.
There were also many business places that were moved from their original locations. One of the oldest might be the frame, square-front building that once stood next (west) to the present Midtown Hardware (in 1909 it was the C.A. Gorball Plumbing Shop) and was moved south of the alley near the creek, where it served for many years as ajunk dealer's business. A smaller frame building was moved about 1930 to make room for a filling station that stood at an angle at the corner of Mill St. and Commercial, the present site of the Centier Bank Branch. It was moved to a site east of the Legion Hall to be used as a Scout cabin, and was moved again later to the present site south of the hall, and now serves as a storage building. At the old location, it served as a harness shop and cream station.
A few readers may remember the big red Love hay barn that stood on the south side of Washington St. just west of the railroad. The Old Timer was surprised a few years ago when he saw it miles away in West Creek Township, where it had been moved.
A large square-front business building, originally built at the northeast corner of Main and Union streets (east of the old school) was moved years ago to Mill Street near Jefferson St., where it was a grocery-meat market (W. Bartz) and a tavern (Levi Gard). It was demolished in later years. It served as a general store and a church when it was on Main Street.
Many of the old one-room schoolhouses were moved from their original locations as homes or for a business. The Bruce School that once stood on Ind. R2 near Parrish Street now stands remodeled as a home on North Liberty Street in Lowell, and several others were used as farm buildings.
Many of the homes built by pioneer families, moved onto more modern foundations, restored and remodeled, are now standing proudly as attractive additions to their new locations. Many more structures were moved, not mentioned in this story.
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