Stephenson Tales

Oie Turns a House Around

When Mom and Dad went to Gull Lake on their honeymoon and fell in love with the place, they bought two lots in Midland Park on the east side of the lake, directly across from the island where Dr. John Kellogg (brother of W.K.) had his "sanitarium."

The mail was delivered to a train station at Bay View on the farthest shore of the long bay to the south end of the lake. Each week Mom and Dad would row the three or four miles to collect any accumulated mail. One day as they were nearing the dock, Dad glanced over the side of the rowboat, and there, about ten or twelve feet down was a house jack. He hesitated but a moment before going over the side. He picked it up and walked/ran a few steps underwater toward the shore carrying the heavy jack into shallower water. It took him about fifteen sessions before he could walk with his head above the surface. Mom rowed beside him so he could rest for a moment before going down again to continue his trek toward the shore. Finally he got into shallow water and heaved the heavy jack into the boat.

After they had picked up the mail and rowed back across the lake Dad began a major project.

Using his new tool - which was in perfect condition - he put the jack under one corner of the house and lifted it up off the foundation, then another corner, and finally all four corners of the rectangle were about three inches off the foundation. Using the foundation as a "track" and cut pieces of small logs as rollers, he began to turn the house to an angle which better faced the lake. He did this all alone, of course. In order to turn the house he constructed a "Spanish windlass:" a two-inch rope is looped around a tree at one end of the loop and around that which is to be moved at the opposite end of the oval shaped loop. The ends are drawn tight and tied. Then between the two sides of the loop a steel pipe is put and one begins to turn the sides of the loop over each other. The tree is not going to move. Inch by inch he gradually moved the house. There were plenty of trees to be lined up with each successive corner of the building.

When he finally got it to the angle he wanted, he poured a new foundation under each side and after the concrete was set, gradually lowered the house - a fraction of an inch at each corner in succession until it rested perfectly on the new foundation. Then he built a porch along the front of the house - and so it remains to this day.

Composed 20 November 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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