STERLING – The sun was a fuzzy yellow stain in the gray, overcast sky, and a cool breeze was blowing. A clearly irritated killdeer ran across a stretch of green grass, recently dotted with dandelions, screeching at the annoying cluster of workers tromping around his little patch of prairie, such as it was.
There was quite a production going on across the road from Crop Production Services Wednesday morning, at the old Double G ranch, and a handful of locals were parked in CPS’s gravel lot for a front-row seat.
The occasion: a little ol’ barn-moving. Except this was no little ‘ol barn. The historic two-story behemoth was 100 feet long, 34 feet wide. That’s 3,400 square feet trundling up the highway.
It had been lifted off its foundation and tethered to the semitrailer the day before, in preparation for this road trip, a little jaunt just 1.5 miles up the road to its new home at K’s Korners bar and grill, 13030 Galt Road.
Nine a.m. came and went, then 9:15. About 9:30, finally, a little action: The semi on which the massive barn perched began to inch off the grass and out onto U.S. Route 30. “There she goes!” cried an onlooker. Arms shot up into the air, clutching phones; video began to roll.
Slowly, the trailer made the turn. Oversize load, read a banner on the accompanying truck.
“They got this down to a science,” one watcher said, referring to the Balagna House Moving crew.
The old dairy barn, which once held the Wahl Equestrian Center’s clothing and tack store, wore its own vestments: a cheery orange Midland States Bank banner, and four American flags flying, one at each corner.
Faster than a tortoise, slower than a hare, it glided along those 2,000 feet like a parade float. By 10 a.m., it was ready for its next turn, at the I-88 intersection, where it headed east.
ComEd, which had dropped at least one of its utility lines, lifted one here, a guy in a huge white cherry picker doing the honors.
No one got fried. Nothing slipped off the truck. The guy walking underneath the barn – yep, underneath it – did not get squished like a stinkbug.
Excitement over, the onlookers pocketed their cellphones, piled back into their cars and took off. The two dozen or so semis and other vehicles that had lined the road, waiting for the path to the interstate to open, waiting for 30 westbound to open, were set free.
Moving across the street to stand on the barn’s ruined foundation, its cement floor still covered with spotted teal carpet, gave a long view of the second phase of the move.
Around 10:20, the convoy reached the bridge over the Elkhorn Creek, and the sky began to spit. By 10:25, the barn had passed that tricky landmark.
Less than an hour later, the old barn was home, on its new corner lot, where its new owners, Marion and Andy Younger, will rent it out for weddings, receptions, reunions, and any other event that needs a little space.
The Loft. That’s what they’re going to call it. Call the Youngers at 815-626-2988 or find K’s Korners on Facebook for more information.