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Orange County

$1 House Makes Itself Right at Home After a $30,000 Jaunt

The Craftman-style bungalow was blocking a library expansion. Now it lives blocks away.

June 23, 2004|Erin Ailworth | Times Staff Writer

The first step was wobbly, like that of a beauty queen too long off her high heels.

With a bump down the curb, the 83-year-old Craftsman-style bungalow began her twilight glide to her final address in Orange.

Atop her hauling platform, the house crawled down Chapman Avenue at 5 mph. A screen door swung to-and-fro as if waving to the crowd of about 1,500 lining the sidewalks.

The home -- which had been a library bookstore but became a white elephant blocking a $16.6-million library expansion -- was on the way to a new location Monday night.

City officials had tried since 2003 to give the house away for $1, but there had been no takers. Eventually, three prospective buyers came forward, and the 1,900-square-foot house, named for original owners Samuel and Lillian Edwards, finally was sold to local residents Joe and Linda Day.

One of more than 1,200 houses in the mile-square historic district, the structure came with original light fixtures, stained-glass windows and an ornamental chimney. The Days paid $30,000 to haul the house from 431 E. Chapman Ave. to Almond Avenue and Lemon Street. The couple also donated $10,499 toward the library expansion, in appreciation, Linda Day said.

The Craftsman's eight-block parade was heralded by a marching band. Neighbors watched from lawn chairs while others with ice cream cones gathered at Plaza Square Park. "Let's roll," Linda Day yelled, her camcorder taping. "Come on house. Oh, cross your fingers everybody, cross your fingers ....Oh, doesn't it look pretty with its lights?" Trees brushed the rooftop as the house navigated a quarter of the Plaza Square Park roundabout and slid onto Glassell Street before turning into its new resting place. Linda Day said her grandparents, Otto and Josephine Scharer, bought the lot in 1932 but never built on it. When the Days learned of the library's predicament, she said, they knew they had the place for the Edwards House.

The Days' 22-year-old daughter, B.J., will move into the house in August, after a foundation is laid and a garage and plumbing are added. As the hauling crew fluttered about like attendants, spectators offered the house a final ovation.

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