The historic Smith-Enos farmhouse in Santa Maria took a short trip Friday to a spot a few feet from its future home.
The relocation occurred to make way for the Enos Ranchos development that will include auto dealerships, big box stores, eateries, an office building and more near the intersection of Bradley and Betteravia roads.
But to free up land along valuable Highway 101 frontage, the house had to move — and did courtesy of Brandt House and Building Movers.
With prep work occurring in recent weeks to put the house on a trailer for its trip and grading the former farm field to clear the route, Friday’s move got underway around 10:30 a.m., only an hour later than planned.
The house initially balked at leaving its location for the approximately one-quarter-mile trip winding its way across the field.
“Once we got ramped up out of there, it was a piece of cake,” said Eric Brandt, owner of the Santa Maria-based company that has moved thousands of structures — many bigger than the Santa Maria house — in 40 years.
“We do this all the time, you know,” he said, calling Friday’s project “a walk in the park.”
The Enos Ranchos developer, NKT Commercial of San Luis Obispo, gifted the house to the city of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, which has sought to restore what is believed to be the city’s last 1880s-era ranch house.
“I was a little shaky in the beginning as I saw them starting to pull it out of the hole, but I had already been briefed by the moving company and individuals from NKT who are the developers that it was in excellent shape,” Recreation and Parks Director Alex Posada said. “So I really wasn’t too worried about the house itself.
“It was pretty cool,” he said, adding that it also was a relief. “Now that it’s here, it’s even more of a relief.”
The developer paid for the move of the house, estimated at $70,000. The pump house also was relocated Friday.
The mobile home drew the attention of drivers, stopped alongside College Drive to watch a piece of Santa Maria history get closer its new home.
The next step calls for a placement of a foundation for the house, work expected to take place within 90 to 120 days. The city will work with Halsell Builders.
“And then we will develop the park around the house as funding and time permits,” Posada said, adding that the park will encompass 7 acres.
Recreation and Parks staff have eyed the historical house for the past 10 years as an important piece of Santa Maria’s past they sought to preserve.
“From the park perspective, it actually gives us a park site that is really going to have a focal point,” he said.
Posada has talked with Santa Maria Valley Historical Society representatives about finding period-specific furniture and renovating the inside to display exhibits while also being used by the public.
He also would like to install a garden so the house could be used as a backdrop for weddings or concerts, he added.
While other new parks were formed around neighborhoods, the historic house gives the city a chance to craft a different design, Posada added.
“This project is a little different because it’s given us the opportunity to take a hundred and something-plus years of history and dropping it right in the middle of a brand-new park site,” he added.