A change of scenery: House moving goes off without a hitch
Usually a move means packing up your belongings and bidding the house goodbye — unless your name is Alan Marriage and parting with the home means parting with your heritage.
Sunday morning at about 6:30 a.m. Marriage was biting his lip as Ralph Lynn of Lynn’s House Moving, and Frank Mendes, raised the two-bedroom single-story home his grandfather built 67 years ago from its foundation at Proctor and Stewart streets for a two mile journey to the west side of town.
This was not a simple task.
As hydraulics lifted the home, its basement wall crumbled.
Once the home was on the bed of the truck, the tires sank in the soft dirt.
Minor problems considering what could have happened and didn’t.
The home driven on a tractor trailer by Mendes, two Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, a Charter Cable truck, a Sierra Pacific truck and Lynn in his company truck moved south at a steady 7 mph along Stewart Street.
The two southbound lanes and a northbound lane blocked by the oversized load.
At every intersection, Mendes would ease the truck around stop lights or Lynn would use a stick to hold power lines out of the way of the sloping roof.
Moving along Carson Street was even trickier with its bothersome medians. Mendes was forced to drive on the left-hand side of the road for a while, then up and over the median to avoid the next stop light.
At Betts Street, more challenges arose.
Lynn’s stick couldn’t move the taut power lines. He had to ride on the roof of the home the final four blocks and hold the power lines up. That last stretch took an hour.
A sneaky tree branch reached its bark-covered finger out and busted a window as the home made its way up the narrow road.
Three and a half hours after it began the house was finally home.
“I tried to talk him out of it,” said Fred G. Sherman, retired contractor and family friend to Marriage. “It just doesn’t make economic sense to move this house. I could have built him a new one for less than the cost of this.”
But Sherman said Marriage couldn’t be swayed.
“He’s doing it for the preservation, at great expense. For the attachment.”
In 1935, Marriage’s grandfather built the home on the once-residential street of Stewart. Nearly seven decades later, only one other house remains on the busy street.
Marriage’s neighbors were the Nugget Casino, government offices and the Nevada State Library to name a few.
His home faced a parking lot, a side window saw a bank, its back porch looked on the building that housed the recently-sold family business, Chas B. Marriage Insurance Co.
In the hopes of making the property more appetizing to a buyer, Marriage decided to move the house so the commercially-zoned building would have parking. Prime real estate in a prime location zoned for practically everything, he said.
“When I was a kid I never cared for the house. It just grew on me,” he said. “It’s my dream to have a little house with a nice big garage.”
A garage was something the tiny Stewart Street lot wouldn’t allow, but is now possible on the half acre Marriage now has nestled against the mountains.
“This is the last house on my block,” he said of the Stewart Street neighborhood. “Most people probably see the house going down the street, I thought it would be good if they knew its’ story.”