Cabin becomes a mobile home |

Cabin becomes a mobile home

Jeremy Heiman

If you see a log cabin – or at least half of one – being rolled up Highway 82 in the middle of the night tonight, there’s a good chance you’re not hallucinating.

The 1,200-square-foot, 3-bedroom log house will be moved late tonight from its present location in Woody Creek to a new site at the Aspen Airport.

A contractor offered the cabin free of charge to anyone who would move it to a new location. Pitkin County, in need of housing for its airport employees, took on the challenge and expense of moving the 1960s-vintage log house.

“I guess we’re just happy the house isn’t going to the landfill,” said Michael Augello of Telluride-based Wodehouse Builders, which bills itself as a “green,” or environmentally conscious, contractor. Wodehouse hopes to incorporate recycled lumber in the new 5,500-square-foot house and outfit it with such energy-saving features as a foam-insulated foundation and a super-efficient heating system.

Augello said the company advertised the free house and received responses from a number of people. But they all took themselves out of the running when they learned they would have to move the house. After several such callers, Augello hit upon a way of explaining the situation:

“It’s like when you join the Columbia Record Club,” he told them. “You get four free disks, but there are some shipping and handling charges.”

The house, a Lenado Kit Log Home, has already been chainsawed in two and loaded onto two trailers by Bailey House Movers.

Rick Wheeler, project coordinator for Wodehouse, said the first part of the house will start its journey at 11 p.m. In accordance with Colorado Department of Transportation policy, the second half will not start its move until the first half is safely off the highway.

The sections of the house will be towed from the site to Upper River Road, across the Roaring Fork at Smith Hill Road, and up Highway 82 to the north end of the Aspen Airport. From there they will go along the runway to a site on the west side of the airport.

A number of agencies and services are involved in the move. Permits had to be obtained from CDOT and Pitkin County’s Road and Bridge Department. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department will provide an escort for the house, and Stutzman-Gerbaz Earthmoving will follow with a backup truck tractor in case of a breakdown.

Because the house will be moved overland from Highway 82 to the north end of the runway, the airport’s snow-removal team has cleared the snow so that the ground will freeze solidly enough to support the trailers.

A tree-transplanting specialty company has been hired to move three large Engelmann spruce trees from the site, to make room for the new larger house. The trees have been sold, Wheeler said.

“We had to lift one out with a 65-ton crane,” he said.

Saving the house is in line with the owner’s philosophy, as well as with the philosophy of the contractor.

“To us, we thought it would be horrible to start the process by throwing away a perfectly good house,” Augello said.

But there’s an advantage to the buyer, too.

“To build the same house today would cost $60,000 just for the shell,” Wheeler said.

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