EDITOR’S NOTE: At the end of each year, the Daily Times-Call updates readers with its “Where Are They Now” series, which revisits notable area news-makers and finds out how they’re faring. The series ends today with this update of the Bertolins’ historic house that is now at its new site north of town.
LONGMONT — Jim and Rebecca Bertolin’s quest to move their 120-year-old house from its original homestead, now surrounded by new homes, to a more rural setting north of town remains a work in progress.
In October, they moved the home from Ninth Avenue and County Line Road to Wasatch Road, north of Colo. Highway 66, after months of delays.
Now, with the home sitting on its new foundation, they are still finishing wood floors, building a three-story addition and a new basement, installing a furnace and duct work, and disassembling the old barn on the old property and moving it to the new site.
The Bertolins are living in a smaller home on the new property until the work is done.
But they’re already looking back at the arduous moving process, which included last-minute foundation work, navigating various permitting processes, using a shotgun to scare off copper thieves eyeing the home’s piping and then having their goats stolen.
The actual move of the house didn’t go off too smoothly, either.
For one thing, before the move, they trimmed the trees along the route between the old and new sites so hanging limbs wouldn’t damage the house. But while going down the road in the middle of the night, they realized that many of the trees weren’t trimmed high enough.
“At 3:30 in the morning, we were on the roof trimming trees,” Jim Bertolin said.
They also had to widen a road near the new property, which didn’t get done in time, so the house showed up without a proper road to drive on, and they had to wait a day.
Then the new foundation caused problems. Gravel on the floor of the foundation wasn’t placed in the right place, requiring a crane to lower a Bobcat tractor onto the foundation floor to fix it.
“We are basically broke now,” Rebecca Bertolin joked. “No, it’s going to be worth it. It’s turning out really nice.”
The improvements on the house will be remarkable, she said.
The oak floors they’re installing came out of the old Victorian home.
Jim also retrieved an oriel bay window from a Victorian home demolished next to the Times-Call building and plans to attach it to the home.
The couple shed light on the nearly forgotten history of the home as well.
Locals knew the farmhouse as the Nichols House, referring to Levi Nichols, who many believed built the home in 1895.
Most people in the area went to parties Nichols threw.
But Josh and Patty Sage, who owned the home in the 1980s, showed Rebecca a letter written by Levi Nichols’ son, Joe, revealing that farmers Garrett and Martha Clawson actually built the home, possibly 10 years earlier.
Rebecca said they are marking the construction date of the home at 1885 and changing its name.
“We have now decided that we are going to rename the house the Clawson House because that’s who actually built it,” Rebecca said.
If they’re lucky, the Bertolins will be able to move into the Clawson House by Easter, she said.
Douglas Crowl can be reached at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.