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131-year-old Des Moines house moved overnight


A historic Queen Anne Victorian house was moved overnight from 2915 Brattleboro Ave. to 3102 Cottage Grove Ave. Photo provided by Invest DSM

A storm that swept through Des Moines overnight interrupted plans to move a 131-year-old house two blocks, but only for an hour.

Invest Des Moines, a nonprofit group focused on neighborhood revitalization, had originally planned to begin moving the Queen Anne Victorian-stye house at 12:01 a.m. today. However, a storm with wind gusts of more than 50 mph caused movers to wait until after 1 a.m. to begin moving the multilevel structure, said Christopher Civitate, Invest DSM’s outreach and engagement coordinator.

“We were ready to roll at midnight but then the storm came through so we waited for it to push through,” he said.

This is the first house Invest DSM has been involved with moving, Civitate said.

The house, which had been located at 2915 Brattleboro Ave. in Des Moines, was moved two blocks to a corner lot at 3102 Cottage Grove Ave. Drake University purchased the house in 1977 and rented it out for numerous years. The structure had sat vacant for more than two years, Civitate said.

Drake representatives contacted Invest DSM about moving the four-bedroom, 2,045-square-foot house and restoring it, Civitate said.  

“Being able to hold on to past architecture and keep that historical integrity in neighborhoods is important,” he said. “This home was in really good condition on the interior, when it came to the finishes that were left – the wood trim, the fireplace mantles and the stairwells. Just it’s character, you can’t get back in a [new] build.”

It cost $80,000 to move the house and construct a foundation on the Cottage Grove property, Civitate said. Restoration costs are estimated at $450,000.

The house was going to be placed on the foundation today but the rain made the lot too muddy to drive a truck onto, Civitate said. When the lot dries out, hopefully yet this week, the house will be placed on the foundation.

Once the renovation of the house is completed, it will be sold, Civitate said. “This house, on the corner of 31st and Cottage Grove, will be a really good tribute to the neighborhood and its historic character.”

The house is expected to be placed on its new foundation sometime this week. Photo provided by Invest DSM

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