Historic House Makes Midnight Move from Boulder to Lafayette

December 21, 2018
Crews from Star House Moving prepare the 1923 Nelson House to be moved from University Avenue in Boulder to Old Town Lafayette.

A Lafayette couple around midnight Thursday began moving a nearly 100-year-old house from University Hill to their property in Old Town Lafayette.

With assistance from the Colorado State Patrol blocking intersections when needed and support from PS Piloting Service, Star House Moving transported the house — sans its roof to limit its height — through darkened streets to make the approximate 11-mile journey.

“We re gluttons for punishment, so we took it on,” Tim Shafer said.

Shafer said he and his wife, Kate Williams, responded to a request for proposals from Boulder to acquire a home at 744 University Ave., which they are moving to Geneseo Street in Lafayette, where they already have a historic home.

He said the University Hill home was built on a flood plain.

“This one was flooded in 2013 flood, mostly in the basement,” Shafer said. “The owner rehabbed it, and put it on the market. The city of Boulder bought it to demolish it.”

In October 2017, Boulder’s Landmarks Board approved a stay of demolition on the home, known as the 1923 Nelson House, in order to issue requests for proposals from people interested in moving the home to another location in order to preserve it. Once the house is moved, efforts will begin to designate it as a local landmark, according to city records.

The city of Boulder is still listed as the owner of the property, according to online Boulder County Assessor’s Office property records. Shafer said the city is giving the home to him and Williams, but they are paying for the move and the new foundation on which it will sit and other associated costs. City records show Boulder also will give $40,000 for some of the cost.

Some of the first houses in Lafayette, beginning in 1889, were moved from Louisville, according to city records, and Shafer said the Williams’ other home on the lot dates to 1918.

He said they plan on renting out the new home.

“We may move into it at some point,” he said. “Our other house is from 1918, so it needs some love as well.”

John Bear: 303-473-1355, bearj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/johnbearwithme

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