In the end, the block-and-a-half move down West Franklin Street took a matter of hours.
But the effort to relocate the historic home of one of Boises titans of industry and to save it from demolition required five months for Burr Boynton to make the winning bid on the state-owned house, acquire a destination lot, win an appeal with the Boise City Council and align the other parts needed to move a 200,000-pound, century-old structure.
But there the 1905 Dutch Colonial Revival-style home was on Monday, raised to head-level on a 64-wheel hydraulic cradle, rolling down Franklin behind a truck.
Today is the day, Boynton said. Weve been working on this since early August. Its been a long haul.
The 2,165 square-foot building was home to Morris Hans Knudsen from 1912 until his death in 1943. Knudsen co-founded the famous Boise construction and civil engineering firm Morrison Knudsen Co.
Knudsen, whose company routinely moved heavy materials while completing projects such as Hoover Dam and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, might have enjoyed watching Mondays moving job by Nampa-based Western States Movers. In addition to the truck hauling the house, two trucks pulling thick cables attached to the house helped pivot the building out of its old home at 603 W. Franklin and on to its new home at 812.
A tree-cutting crew felled branches obstructing the path of the house. An Idaho Power team removed communication wires from the telephone poles and laid them, covered, on 8th Street for the truck to drive over. Idaho Power workers in a boom truck at the same intersection lifted power lines to create space for the house to roll under.
Kenny Pfeifer, owner of the moving company, paced beside the house during its slow, short movements and frequent stops. At one point, Pfeifer and an employee pulled aside a handicapped parking sign to ensure that the house cleared the sign as Pfeiffers daughter, Tami Larrondo, steered the house past.
The move went smoothly. Pfeifer said the trickiest part was securing each sandstone block in the bottom row of the homes footing. Stones on the bottom row that didnt rest on the huge metal beams of the cradle were secured with metal strapping.
The Knudsen House is small compared with most of the companys moving projects, Pfeifer said.
This is just another day, he said. Its even daylight (unlike most moves). I can see where Im going.
Dozens toughed out temperatures in the 20s to snap photos and videos on their cellphones. Two of the bystanders, Jerry and Karen Choat, owned the Knudsen House and operated their graphic design firm, Omni Studio, there from 1984 until 2012.
Karen Choat said they renovated the inside of the house three times over the years and wouldnt have moved out if not for Idahos plan to build the parking garage now under construction on the homes original block. The states plans eventually call for expanding construction to the two lots not already covered by the garage, including the Knudsen Houses former perch.
Jerry Choat said he felt tugged in opposing directions as he watched the building inch down the street.
Im glad its being preserved, but its sad that its being moved, he said. It belongs on that corner.
Still in its cradle, the house rested at the end of the day on its new lot, Boynton said. The movers were scheduled to take the wheels off the house Tuesday, enabling Boynton to start a three-week project to build the new foundation.
To my untrained eye, the move went as quick and as smooth as I could have hoped, he said. Im much warmer now, and also relieved. But Im still cold.
Zach Kyle: 377-6464