Couple moves 1850s home by truck

First, they found the perfect location. Then, they found the perfect house. A 26-mile journey connected the Allens’ home to their land.

Well, that and a whole lot of renovation.

Tom Allen and his wife, Beth, wanted to get away from “suburbia” and distance themselves from the college town of Athens, where they’d lived since the 1990s.

Allen said he and his wife spent more than 15 years looking for an old homestead, such as the kind of homes traditionally built on trails that turned into modern highways.

“We were looking for a house to move,” Allen said. Literally.

The couple weren’t fettered by finances; they wanted an actual antique as opposed to a replica.

“We were getting ready to be empty-nesters,” Allen said, and they wanted a quiet place away from commotion.

They traded city traffic for 30 acres and four horses.

“We wanted county living,” Allen said. “The kids had gotten grown, so we didn’t need to be right on top of everything anymore.”

They bought the land in Oglethorpe County in 2013.

After years of looking, the Allens fell in love with a two-story home originally built in the 1850s and remodeled by the Hardeman family in 1908. Instead of four rooms, the final version had eight rooms, four on top of four.

The owners wanted to get rid of it so much, they offered the house free to anyone who’d pay to move it off the land, Allen said.

He and his wife knew they wanted to physically move the Hardeman house, which sat on Highway 78 in Clarke County and was known to many in the community.

The deciding factor came when a carpenter said he could cut it in half horizontally, lifting the levels off the foundation with a crane and truck them to land 17 miles away.

“It’s 38 by 38 footprint wise,” Allen said, “and it had a big structure on the back that we didn’t want.”

The maximum width allowed on the truck was 40 feet and each floor of the house fit—barely.

After the carpenter set the top floor next to the bottom floor, they “shored it up, put wheels under it and towed it down the road,” Allen said.

The route he had to take was 26 miles as opposed to the 17 any regular driver would have taken.

“We took out a lot of mailboxes,” he joked.

They moved into their 5,000-square-foot dream home in February 2015.