Historic home becomes mobile
HOWLAND — The oldest house in Howland reached its new home Sunday morning as the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Edison First Energy, Howland police and fire, and others teamed up to help.
Stein House Movers moved the historic home, commonly referred to as the “Yellow House” from its former site on state Route 46 across from Lowe’s to a new spot off South Street in Howland, across from Howland Middle School. The move took just 2 hours and 15 minutes, well shorter than earlier predictions of up to five hours.
Transport began before dawn Sunday, around 6:15 a.m. The house had been prepared for its move and loaded onto a flatbed truck in a weekslong process. The Sunday morning move was scheduled to avoid the normally high volume of traffic in the area. Roadways were closed and power lines were readied to be lowered or raised and then replaced.
The house was taken from the hillside where it had been located for more than a century and then transported up the nearby ramp traveling east onto state Route 82. The truck hauling the oversize load made an intended U-turn at the intersection of Howland Wilson Road and then headed west to the exit ramp from Route 82 onto state Route 46.
The house then traveled less than a mile along Route 46 before turning left onto South Street around 7:40 a.m. Power lines in in the area of Route 46 and the intersection of South Street and Willow Street were removed and reinstated.
The house arrived at the new site around 8:30 a.m.
REASON FOR MOVE
The historic home’s relocation was necessary because its former location off Route 46 was adjacent to the site of an intersection where a major road project is planned. The intersection will be expanded in a project commonly referred to as the “diverging diamond project” intended to realign traffic flow at Route 46 and Route 82 to improve safety and lessen the number of crashes in the area.
ODOT officials and Howland police Chief Nick Roberts who were at South Street were pleased with the success of the move, noting it went well with no unexpected issues.
Roberts said six Howland Police officers assisted with watching intersections that were closed to traffic.
By 10 a.m., state Routes 82 and 46 and most other closed sides roads were reopened.
Residents in the area had lined some of the route with hopes of catching a glimpse of the early morning spectacle Sunday. Some watched from the lawn at Howland Middle School, and others set up folding chairs in their driveways or stood on nearby sidewalks.
“This is amazing to watch,” resident Toni O’Malley said. O’Malley said she last saw a house moved like this when her parents’ home was moved in 1966.
Jason Watkins, an archaeologist with ODOT’s environmental services office who checked the area where the house now will sit, was on hand Sunday morning to witness the house come down the Route 82 ramp.
“It does look a little out of place to see a house being driven up and down a ramp,” he said.
He said he worked with the historical society as a process needed to be followed, and it takes time to move a house.
“Moving historic homes happens, but not that often. … This project is being done for the education of future generations,” Watkins said.
Resident Judi Joseph called the move “fascinating.”
“They moved it faster than I thought,” Joseph said. “This was a great opportunity to preserve the local history. So many people drive by here and to see something positive like this is great. It’s nice to see what people can do when they come together.”
The move has been considered for more than a year but pursued in earnest in recent months.
Originally, the home was targeted for demolition, but Howland Historical Society members worked with ODOT. The homeás owner, local realtor Jason Altobelli, donated the home to the Howland Historical Society.
Cindee Mines of the society said ODOT is covering costs for the move of between $375,000 to $400,000 with the society responsible for anything over that amount.
Mary Jane Vennitti, historical society president, said she was pleased howthe move went. She said saving the house has been discussed since 2018.
“We worked hard to save the house and to be able to get it to this location is tremendous. We have big plans for the house as a museum with artifacts and other historical items for educating the students and the community. We want to be able to interact with the students with programs,” she said, indicating the house will be restored to as it was in the 1830s.
Howland native Jay Toth, a retired historic preservation archaeologist now of New York, said he contacted the Howland Historical Society a year ago after reading about the Yellow House and wanted to provide his help.
He said he informed the historical society that the lots were open across from the school.
“I wanted to do what I could to help them save the house. Moving the house is an historic event,” Toth said.
The house will remain on the flatbed truck parked at new site for a few days before being placed on its new foundation, according to historical society members.
She said the house will be placed across a large hole on the site where the basement and foundation will be built.
“Older houses are not exactly square so they have to placed a certain way,” she said.
Ruth Ann Capito of the historical society said Trumbull Master Gardeners will help with landscaping of the new property.