January 28, 2009

60-ton house towed across frozen lake

Some called it the biggest icehouse ever in Minnesota, but a home seen Wednesday on the ice of a frozen lake was only being towed across, owners said.

Rather than looking to dip a fishing line through the ice of frozen White Bear Lake from what could have been the most elaborate fishing shack ever, the owners of a 60-ton house said they were only interested in seeing the home successfully moved from an island to a new location on the mainland, The Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis reported.

The three-bedroom house had been on the lake's Manitou Island since the late 1880s, and its owner, Doug Kraemer of Kraemer Contruction, wanted to move it to make way for new housing there. He hired Terry Semple of Semple Building Movers of St. Paul to place the house on a dolly with 64 tires and winch it across a 100-yard-wide channel to Matoska Park, the newspaper said.

The move went off without a hitch after several days of thickening up the channel's ice pack to 24 inches by pumping water onto it while temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit, observers said.