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  • Last modified 13 days ago (Aug. 8, 2019)

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Piece by piece

Stonemasons will start taking apart Sunflower Rd. house for move to new site.

Staff writer

Stonemasons will begin to take apart a historical stone house south of Marion today to move it to an undisclosed Butler County site.

The fixtures of the home at 1772 Sunflower Rd. were purchased by Joel Smith, a Newton dentist, who plans to store it on family land until he finds the perfect place to rebuild it just as it was.

“It’s just beautiful,” he said of the structure built in the 1870s.

“I have driven by it and felt bad that it was in such disarray. I have always admired the work that went into it so many years ago and I didn’t want to see it collapse into ruin.”

Clayton and Anita Moore are listed as sellers on an affidavit of equitable interest filed at the register of deeds. Terms of the sale were not disclosed by either party.

Lucas Koch, a traditional stonemason and owner of Cottonwood Falls based Koch Construction Specialties will oversee the project.

The demolition of the stonework “optimistically” may take two or three weeks, he said.

Smith said high school students from Butler County finished demolition of the wooden interior earlier this summer.

Koch says he has already begun initial work by taking about 20 or 30 photographs of the place. The limestone is a “soft and chalky” kind he usually finds in Marion County. The patterns on the doors and windows are all hand carved.

Rescue of the stonework happened in the nick of time, he said.

“It is nearing a point where the walls will start falling down and be damaged beyond repair,” he said. “It’s urgent to get it down before it falls down because everything pretty much becomes a big mess.”

This will be the sixth home he has relocated and recycled for an owner, he said.

Today, if weather cooperates, workers will begin taking off the top portion of the stonework. They will take down the remaining stone blocks, working in a spiral so the weight of the structure is evenly distributed and it won’t collapse.

The blocks will be labeled and packed onto pallets which will be stored in Butler County.

“We will keep everything in order so we can figure out how to put the puzzle back together again,” Koch said.

Smith has begun looking for the perfect place to rebuild the house and Koch said he agrees it needs a stand-alone location.

“It’s a pretty house. It’s not right to build it in town somewhere,” he said. “It needs a picturesque piece of property to set it on,” he said. “I hope I get to rebuild it.”

Last modified Aug. 8, 2019

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