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Historic Kinzler house hits the road, again

FARGO--The big house was ready for the big move Tuesday morning, Aug. 2. For Don Kinzler, it was the second time his 121-year-old house has had to pull up roots and make tracks to a new location, though this time it was to be a roughly 2-mile jau...

The Kinzler home moves into University Drive South on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, on its way to a new location in south Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
The Kinzler home navigates a roundabout near Davies High School on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, on its way to a new location in south Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

FARGO-The big house was ready for the big move Tuesday morning, Aug. 2.

For Don Kinzler, it was the second time his 121-year-old house has had to pull up roots and make tracks to a new location, though this time it was to be a roughly 2-mile jaunt from one south Fargo locale to another.

The first time was in December 1991, when Kinzler bought the house and moved it from its original lot near downtown Fergus Falls, Minn., to a spot next to South University Drive in Fargo near the Rose Coulee.

At the time, the region had just gone through a long dry period and flooding wasn't on anyone's mind, Kinzler said.

Unfortunately, the first house move coincided with the start of a long wet period. The house was being moved Tuesday to make way for a levee project that will protect properties south of Rose Coulee between the Red River and Drain 53 from future floods.

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"The house is so structurally solid, living in it has a very awesome feel. It's like stepping back into 1895," said Kinzler, who along with his wife, Mary, and sons Jacob and Isaac, was readying the home for its move Tuesday morning to a new lot near Davies High School.

The journey started around 9 a.m. and was completed a few hours later, with the path requiring navigating a number of traffic challenges, including two roundabouts.

But all the effort was worth it, according to Kinzler, who said that as the house's owner he feels he has an obligation to preserve its architectural history.

"Luckily the house was built with modern conveniences at the time, so it was built with indoor plumbing, it was built with electricity and it was built with central heating and indoor bathrooms, so living in it is very much like living in any other home," Kinzler said.

"The unusual thing about the house is there are very few homes that have stayed in the original condition for 120 years," he added.

Kinzler said the move was handled by Schmit House Movers of Wyndmere, N.D., the same company that handled the first transit from Fergus Falls 25 years ago.

"It moved very well the first time," said Kinzler, who expects the house will be livable again by the end of September.

In the meantime, Kinzler and his family are living in a Fargo hotel.

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Mary Kinzler said they see the move as an adventure.

"It will be good. We don't have to worry about floods again," she said.

The Kinzler home moves into University Drive South on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, on its way to a new location in south Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Don Kinzler, center, with sons Jacob and Isaac and his wife, Mary, ready their home for a move Tuesday, Aug 2. Dave Olson/Forum News Service

Related Topics: DON KINZLERFERGUS FALLS
I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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