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From the bottom up: Local house to get new foundation

WORTHINGTON -- Will Haken and son Lonnie Haken stood on the sidelines Tuesday morning, watching as men and machinery carefully carved out what will eventually be a firmer footing under their home at 1400 Third Ave.

The front of the house was supported by jacks as the former foundation and basement area was torn away and bucketfuls of dirt were hauled out of the site. The work had begun on Monday, and the excavation was to be completed by Tuesday afternoon.

"It was a rock foundation, and the north side had tipped out," Will explained about the need for a new foundation.

"The houses in this area were built in the 1890s," Lonnie added. "It had settled so much that the windows wouldn't open anymore."

"The mover claims the house weighs about 60 tons," Will said, shaking his head as he looked at the building that appeared to be suspended over a gaping hole in the ground. "Isn't that something?"

OK Movers from Mountain Lake was in charge of the excavation process and keeping the house firmly in place while the crew worked underneath. Owner Arnie Dick said the business is called upon often in scenarios where a structure's foundation needs to be replaced.

"We make messes -- that's what we're good at," he joked about the worksite, which was filled with mud due to Tuesday morning's rain. "We've been doing this, me and my brother, since probably '75. ... The outside (of the foundation) goes down, and the center stays put because of the dry dirt. This one looks like it's been repaired three or four times."

The Hakens have lived in the house for more than 30 years, and Lonnie's chiropractic office is located in the rear of the structure. Only the front part of the foundation needed to be replaced.

Once the initial excavation was completed, local contractor Doug Nau was poised to begin construction on the new basement. According to the Hakens, the new part of the structure will be composed of wood, which should provide adequate support and last for many decades to come.

Replacing a basement under an existing building is not a small undertaking, but the Hakens said they had no choice if the home was to remain livable.

According to Nau, homes in the area where the Hakens live are eligible for the Small Cities Development grant program. Anyone interested in learning more about the program and available funding for home rehabilitation projects can contact the housing department at the Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council, 376-4195.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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