How To Move a Log Cabin

By Staff
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Ed Hills' 1954 600 Ford pulled the cabin without a problem. Tim Weniger watches for clearance problems while turning.
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The cabin was placed on a cement pad, reroofed, and windows and doors were added, as well as a front porch. Note the squirrel in the upper window.
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Treasurer Ed Hills (middle) has some help from the younger members as Nick Hills (left) and Ryan Ingalls (right) help him build the forms for the cement pad.

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
michiganflywheelers@yahoo.com. Visit our web site at
www.community.mlive.com/cc/michiganflywheelers for a schedule of
events.

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