As recent as a few years ago, a row of aging, nondescript homes stood between those who wanted to walk from downtown Mason City, Iowa to the community’s historic Prairie Style architecture.
Mostly rentals, some were in such disrepair they had been white-tagged as uninhabitable. They were demolished to make room for the arrival of four historic houses that had themselves been sentenced to demolition.
In the summer of 2015, the nonprofit Community Benefit-Mason City oversaw the relocation of four historic homes that were slated to be demolished as part of the government buyouts of flood-stricken areas. The goal was to preserve the significant architecture and revitalize the neighborhood.
“You (once) had to walk through kind of a dicey-looking neighborhood that that’s really changed,” said Mason City Development Services Director Steven Van Steenhuyse.
“And, I think that’s a great thing for the city. Usually what happens is that when one major property improves then it tends to have a catalytic effect on other properties. I think we’re going to see more and more houses in that neighborhood rehabbed or turned back into single-family homes or just fixed up to look nicer,” he continued.
The moving project was contracted to Atlas Enterprises, with assistance from sister companies, HMR Supplies and CR Holland Crane. In order to avoid damaging a historic, 100-year-old bridge, they had to construct a bridge over that bridge. This enabled them to get the 270-ton Egloff home and its 140-ton garage across the Winnebago River.