Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 35 > Page 13 - Dan Alex MacLeod "I Moved Houses"

Page 13 - Dan Alex MacLeod "I Moved Houses"

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1 (357 reads)

Dan Alex MacLeod 'I Moved Houses' (When was the first time you ever saw any? body moving a house?) Myself. (But did you ever see anybody else do it?) No. (What gave you the idea that you could do a thing like that?) In 1939, when the war was going to start, or had started, I fig? ured there was going to be a good demand for lumber. I had been v7orking up in Guys- borough for a contractor on the highway, driving a tractor, and I figured I ended up by getting 9% cents an hour for my work, working 16 hours a day. So I swore, "That's it! I'll never work for another boss as long as I live." So I figured I'd get into the sawmill business. I had been fishing down in Capelin Cove, and I had a shanty there. A fellow had-a big truck, a 3-ton truck with a wide platform on. And I wanted to bring that shanty up to where my sawmill was going to be, so I could put tools and stuff in it, "Oh, it would fall off before it got halfways from Capelin Cove." So I had a ton truck, a Chev. I said, "I'll take it." I went down. Oh, the fishermen, they didn't want to load it at all. "It's going to fall off." "Well, let it fall off. You fellows load it with me." So they loaded it. It wasn't that big. We had no jacks then. We pried it and put it on rollers and got it up on a high place on a hill, and got the truck down below, and slid it on. (What were the rollers made of?) Spruce. Sticks, out of -the woods. (How did you roll it?) Push it. It wasn't that heavy. There were enough fishermen. I think there were around 20 fishermen down there. It wasn't a big problem, anyway. They were figuring, "It'll fall off." So I took it all the way up here. I took it up pretty close to where the men were, over a rough road. That was the first building. So then, we were going to move, the fall of '40, we were going to move up to Loch Lomond. We got a good stand of timber there. And I had a bigger building that I had bought. And I went to see three differ? ent guys with big trucks. "No, no, couldn't be done, no way." So I went and I got a trolley, you know, a farm wagon. I tied it onto the back of the truck. This building was long, you know, it was too long for the truck. The first one was only about 12 feet, but this other one was 20 feet or something. It was on a high bank, and we just put skids out, all over the road there; it was up high enough, it was even higher than the truck. We just slid it on sideways. (Did you have jacks then?) No. (How would you move it?) Men. Manpower, manpower. Men, strength, and ignorance. (Do you mean you were shoving these build? ings?) Oh yeah. With pries. Oh, there were a lot of people helping me putting it on. (Would you grease up the poles?) No. Go too fast. It was coming down on a slant. (How long did it take, when you didn't have any equipment ?) Oh, I don't know, half an hour or something like that. So that was the start of it. When we started first moving buildings, when the mine closed (Stirling Mine), we got rails. And we discovered that rails were no good, so we went and got 40-foot edge beams. And then we reinforced them (13)
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