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Fairgrounds log cabin finally moved

Head of the housemoving company, Chet Tomczak, is behind the wheel of an old military-surplus truck as it — and the log cabin — roar past the Kitsap Pavilion at a blazing 1 mph as the truck belched a cloud of blue smoke. - Photo by Kelly Everett
Head of the housemoving company, Chet Tomczak, is behind the wheel of an old military-surplus truck as it — and the log cabin — roar past the Kitsap Pavilion at a blazing 1 mph as the truck belched a cloud of blue smoke.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

Creaking, groaning, sluggishly swaying ... the old log cabin was finally moving to its new home on the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

After more than a decade of being parked “temporarily” at the corner of Fairgrounds Road and Stampede Boulevard, after more than three years of paperwork and fundraising by supporters, and weeks more waiting for the weather to cooperate, the historic WPA two-story log cabin was finally moved to its new, permanent location, behind the Presidents Hall, early this week.

Ken Kramer, president of the Pacific Northwest Photographic Society and head of its Log Cabin Task Force, watched the move holding his breath. Although the structure proved harder to move than expected, it finally did move, at about 1 mph, from the corner, around into the gravel parking lot next to the Eagles Nest, across the street (Fairgrounds), into the parking lot in front of the Pavilion, and back to its new home on a pad still being prepared behind the Presidents Hall.

The move, by a vintage, military surplus, 1970 five-ton truck, was accomplished by Chet’s Housemoving of Eatonville. Prep work had cut the cabin from its old concrete foundation, braced the stone fireplace, placed steel I-beams where needed, and inserted 24 balloon tires (eight to a truss).

“We thought it weighed 35-40 tons,” said Chet Tomczak. “Turned out to weigh 60 or 65 tons.” He shook his head. The massive logs in the 70-year-old structure were solid. Workers worked fast to reinforce key positions with chains.

There’s always the risk in every move for the entire structure to simply collapse, said officials.

Key members of the task force include Jim Colebank, Paulette Colebank, Richard Seamans, Pat Seamans, Audrey Boyer, Sherrie Lince, Pamela Buckingham, Craig Brown and Richard Crisinger. One of the members was a key contributor to the move, but Kramer said the individual preferred to remain anonymous.

The cabin will be used as a photographic museum and as another meeting place for the expanding Fairgrounds.

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