DES MOINES, Iowa -- Traffic thinning to a trickle…crickets rising to a chorus…the night had settled into a soothing hum…a drowsy blur…when suddenly…
the curtain goes up on Grand.
“There’s a house coming down the street!” says a woman standing on the sidewalk.
It changes everything about the night…
“I whipped around and parked in a parking lot and walked up here,” says another, holding up her iPhone camera.
Unless you were asleep, you couldn’t miss it.
“Our Netflix went out, so what are we supposed to do?” said a young man, dressed for bed.
From it’s original spot at 40th and Ingersoll, it lurches east.
Juuuuust inside the street lights…over the power lines that had been lowered…squeeze past the branches.
“I’m trying to think what it costs to move it," says neighbor Jim Glaser, watching nearby. "It’s gotta be a ton of money.”
That’s a common question.
It’s Billy Bell’s business, and he makes an unfathomable concept seem routine.
“You select the best route you can find and then you see if you can get it approved,” says Bell, who's moved homes since the 1970s.
Police, fire, Mid-American Energy, the city--they’re all involved.
“I understand they’re taking it to Sherman Hill,” Glaser says.
He’s right. It’ll become Brad Argo’s dream home.
“It’s a seller’s market," says Argo, "we couldn’t find a home that we liked in a neighborhood that we like so we just had to move one!”
Since it was slated for demolition, Argo got the house for free. He’s worked for some eighteen months putting together the move, but now could only stand and watch with the others.
“I do apologize for any inconvenience that this caused for anybody," Argo says, "but I do believe that a lot of the residents that live along this street are having a good time tonight.”
Who won’t remember the sight of this? It went over the Grand bridge, turned west on Ingersoll, then north on MLK. Speed limit 30, unless you’re driving a house.
“I imagine they’re going 4-5 miles an hour--at least four, maybe four,” Bell says.
Bell’s crew has to constantly coax the load along.
“The guy that crawls under the house is just nuts,” says one observer, pointing to one of Bell's workers.
As it struggles up the hill, it’s clear what an enormous project this is.
“I can’t even imagine," says Tanya Keith of River Bend. "100 grand? 200 grand?”
Turns get tight again once inside Sherman Hill…
“Do I cringe when I see it going by a streetlight? Yes. Do I trust the movers? Yes,” says Argo.
Bell has moved hundreds of homes. He's taken two over the Saylorville Dam this year.
This is peanuts.
“Didn’t even run over the neighbor’s flowers, did you see that?" Bell cheers.
A new space for an old place. Price--about $150,000.
“Now it’s where it gets real." Argo admits. "I have to fix this thing up and make it presentable to the rest of the neighborhood."
That’ll have to wait. For now, it’s time for the night to resume. Tomorrow, we’ll have a story tell.