A historic house will get a new lease on life after it is moved from an Oakland Bay nature preserve. Capitol Land Trust, an Olympia-based non-profit land conservation organization, is working with Nickel Bros. house moving of Vancouver, BC to move the historic house off Capitol Land Trust’s Twin Rivers Ranch preserve at the north end of Oakland Bay, near Shelton, WA. The work to prepare the house for moving has already started, but the actual move – getting the house off the property and loaded on a barge destined for Sequim, WA., – will take place in the early morning hours of September 23rd.
Capitol Land Trust (CLT) purchased the 125-acre property in 2010 from the Rohde family to provide permanent protection of the two salmon spawning creeks, marine shoreline and coastal wetlands located on the property. The property also came with a craftsman-style farmhouse, several barns, mobile homes, and other assorted outbuildings. Many of the structures were removed when CLT purchased the property, as the trust began a series of restoration efforts to re-establish wider vegetation buffers along the salmon creeks. However, the Rohde family maintained a life estate over the house and several other buildings on the property up until 2016. The life estate allowed the family to continue living on the property until their passing at which time responsibility would transfer to the land trust.
Upon receiving full control of the property, CLT conducted a study to determine what role the farmhouse, which dates back to 1916, and other structures might play in the future of the Preserve. Based on the estimated cost of bringing the house up to current building code standards and the proximity of the house to one of the creeks, CLT reluctantly determined the house would have to be removed.
Led by CLT Board member Lynn Childers, CLT looked at different options, from standard demolition to working with an architectural salvage company – but even working with a salvage company most of the house would have ended up in the landfill. Childers contacted Nickel Bros., and after looking over the house they felt it was a great candidate for moving. Nickel Bros. quickly found a couple who was moving from Hawaii to Sequim and looking for a charming older craftsman home to renovate. The couple, both Master Carpenters, visited the property and immediately fell in love with the house and began to work on its move to its new foundation in Sequim.
Everything fell into place from there and now the heavy lifting begins. The house will be separated from the garage, jacked up with steel I-beams placed underneath, loaded onto a specially designed flatbed trailer and hauled slowly off its foundation, through a hay field, along State Route 3 to a pull-off directly adjacent to Oakland Bay, where it will be driven down a ramp and placed onto a barge. From there, the barge will take the house through Hamersley Inlet into Puget Sound and on to Sequim. There it will be re-loaded onto the trailer, driven to its new home and placed on its new foundation, where the new owners will begin restoring it back to its original luster.
“We are so happy to see this historic house preserved, it’s amazing how everything lined up! Now, Capitol Land Trust will be able to better manage Twin Rivers Ranch Preserve and continue to restore its salmon creeks and wildlife habitat”, said Lynn Childers, Capitol Land Trust Board Member.