History takes a short highway to a new home

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - It was moving day at Boise's historic Pioneer Village as crews carefully and methodically relocated a Civil War-era cabin to its new and, with luck, final resting place.

The relocation effort was made necessary by the planned expansion of the Boise Historical Museum next door. Where before the Coston Cabin had sat within a few feet of the eastern edge of the museum, it will now be found along the southern edge of the compound, about 17 feet away.

Moving an historic structure like the cabin posed a number of obstacles. First, the building itself is fragile, despite its sturdy appearance.

Secondly, the hauler had to maneuver within a tight space surrounded by other village attractions. And making matters worse, the new site required that the cabin be turned about 35 degrees, so it's parallel to the street..

Watching with a mix of curiosity and awe, museum engineer Tim Blood said he pitied the poor driver.

To get ready, crews from Western States Movers in Nampa graded the half-acre site. Then they built a rectangular pit and dug deep trenches.

Sand was then poured over large berms to help cushion the cabin's foundation when it is finally in place.

The movers are experts at this sort of thing, since they were also responsible for relocating the Knudsen House in May, 2014, a block-and-a-half to its current location on West Franklin.

After grading and smoothing the sand bed, the men watched as the driver inched the trailer forward with its precious cargo.

The concern was that the cabin might suffer significant damage if the process didn't go as planned. Early on, just minutes after the cabin was raised onto the truck bed and secured, the concrete pad on which it sits developed a large spider-like crack.

The floor isn't original and can be easily fixed, but it was a stark reminder that anything can happen during an operation of this magnitude.

The Coston Cabin was built in 1863 and is one of two such structures that were first placed elsewhere inside Julia Davis Park and then relocated to the village. In 2003, the crumbling Pearce Cabin was removed due to safety concerns, leaving only the Coston Cabin as a symbol of Boise's pioneer roots.

It just goes to show that history can be moving, in all sorts of ways.