The 100-year-old parsonage home next to Port Madison Lutheran Church is moved off its lot Wednesday morning. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

The 100-year-old parsonage home next to Port Madison Lutheran Church is moved off its lot Wednesday morning. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

Home, home on the road: Church’s old parsonage trucked to new location

It was Bainbridge’s oldest mobile home.

For a few hours, at least.

The three-bedroom home that has sat next to Port Madison Lutheran Church for the last hundred years was lifted off its foundation Wednesday morning and wheeled down the road to a new location.

About a half dozen neighbors along Madison Avenue North gathered to watch, along with members of the church, as workers from Nickel Brothers House Moving loaded the home onto a semi-truck trailer and carted the house about a third of a mile up the road to its new location and new family.

It was a delicate and deliberate operation; crews from Puget Sound Energy in bucket trucks lifted power lines out of the way as the semi carrying the house slowly drove across the lawn next to the church — carpeted with plywood boards — and the home, a parsonage built in 1920, was inched out onto the road.

Once onto Madison Avenue, the truck slowly rolled — in reverse — north along the street until the house arrived at its new lot.

All in all, it was easy peasy.

“It went really smooth,” said Nick Bonvouloir of Nickel Brothers.

The Canadian-based company moves about 50 houses a year, and Bonvouloir said the short distance made the Bainbridge move an easy one.

Nickel Brothers has transported a number of homes in the Puget Sound region, moving many by barge.

“We’ve actually barged houses from the north end to Vancouver Island to the South Sound; that’s, technically, a few hundred miles,” he said.

Bonvouloir said the most difficult part of moving a home isn’t the structure itself, but obstacles along the route and the width of the road; the travel “envelope” the house must pass through on its way to its ultimate destination.

The age of the home really doesn’t matter.

“You’d be surprised; those old houses, they are really well-built,” he said.

Port Madison Lutheran Church was constructed in 1912, and county assessor records indicate the parsonage next to it was built in 1920.

The house, about 24 feet wide and 40 feet long, was supposed to be relocated in January but that move was postponed.

Relocating a home, or “up-cycling,” Bonvouloir said, is better for the environment than building a new home.

“Otherwise these houses get crushed and thrown in the landfill,” he said.

A new 1,600 square-foot home uses about 60 trees worth of lumber, and most existing houses that need to be removed from a site aren’t recycled, according to Nickel Brothers.

Each discarded home adds between 60 and 80 tons of building materials to a landfill.

Recycling a home, Bonvouloir said, “is a really good option and it’s a lot more affordable than building new.”

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