64958 M-43 Highway, Bangor, Michigan 49013
Early risers on a Sunday morning last spring may have had to wipe the sleep from their eyes a second time as they glanced out their windows into the fog and spotted a log cabin moving down the middle of their road! On closer inspection, they would have also seen Michigan Flywheelers Museum Treasurer Ed Hills on his 1954 600 Ford pulling the cabin and members of the Flywheelers following closely behind.
While members of engine and tractor clubs often get involved in rather strange projects, moving this cabin from Ed's home on 62nd Street to the Flywheelers property on 68th Street near South Haven has been one of the more interesting. The Michigan Flywheelers Museum is a 501c3 non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to the restoration and preservation of antique tractors and engines. They host one of the largest antique engine and tractor shows in the state every September after Labor Day.
The fun began with members planning out how to move the cabin.
Plan One began that fall with plans to apply for a Sunday morning moving permit, wait for the roads to get frozen, a cold winter weekend day and a nice layer of snow. Then chain the cabin to a tractor and drag it over to the property which was about five miles away. Problem was it never got cold or snowy enough to do this.
Plan Two developed that spring as several of the guys were over at vice president Larry Weniger's garage building trailers to use during the show. Pretty soon the conversation turned into a planning session as different ideas were tossed around on how to move the log cabin. An I-beam that Larry was planning on installing under his house soon became the focus of the second plan. The beam, plus axles and wheels, were then hauled over to Ed's house. The beam was slid under the cabin which had been sitting on top of jacks all winter ready to be moved. Axles and wheels were hastily bolted on and presto- the cabin was ready to go! 'Course by now, the guys were pretty proud of themselves and their bright ideas. The next challenge was to see if the tractor could actually pull it. Calls were hastily made to other members for help, and the move was scheduled for the next day which happened to be Sunday. Could this actually work? The final test would come with the next daybreak!
When morning dawned, it was misty and damp with a slight chill in the air. As members gathered, coffee and muffins were offered to all along with much speculation on what problems might occur when the move started. Soon everyone was ready to go. At 6:15 a.m., Ed hooked up his Ford and slowly started to pull the cabin to the road. As everyone held their breath and crossed their fingers, the cabin teetered from side to side as it began to slowly move. It reached the road without incident and the move was on! Then the scrambling began as everyone hurried to their assigned tasks. Several drove their cars ahead to block off intersections from oncoming vehicles. Two members used some extra long poles that they had built, to hold up any low hanging telephone lines and tree limbs. The procession was followed by others who just wanted to be part of this interesting adventure. And of course, the entire move was videotaped.
Ed's tractor pulled the cabin down the hazy roads like a champ. Being that it was really early, not one car was encountered the entire trip. The I-beam held up, no lines or limbs were hit and soon Ed was turning into the Flywheelers' driveway, cabin and procession following close behind.
As you can see from the picture, everything went quite well. An area was cleared for the cabin and a cement pad was poured for the floor. Windows, flower boxes and a door were installed. It was reroofed and a front porch was added. The logs still need to be chinked yet but that will be another experience scheduled for the coming summer months!
The log cabin is currently being used for a gift shop and will be open for visitors during our fall show. This year's dates are Thursday, September 7 through Sunday, September 10. Featured tractors and engines are any that are red, white or blue. Musical entertainment, tractor related games, auctions, pulls, parades and working demonstrations are just part of the events scheduled for the four day old fashioned fun-filled show. For more information, contact the Michigan Flywheelers Museum at 616-639-2010 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our web site at www.community.mlive.com/cc/michiganflywheelers for a schedule of events.