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From wrecking ball to the market

A historic Woodbury farmhouse that was once literally on the move is now for sale.

In August 2003, Woodbury residents Jim and Stephanie Kivel saved the nearly-century old house at 3730 Cottage Grove Drive from the wrecking ball.

"It would have been demolished if it wasn't moved and it was slated for demolition the day before we moved it," said Jim Kivel, who said he and his wife fell in love with the home and decided to save it and make it their own that summer five years ago.

The house, which was built in 1909, now sits on the sixth and seventh holes of the Eagle Valley Golf Course on Woodbury Drive.

The Kivels, who have five children, have spent the better part of their five years in the home making improvements with the intent that they would some day sell it to an owner who shares their appreciation for residential relic.

That day has come.

"We started talking about selling it throughout the summer and fall," Kivel said. "And the interested parties seem to vary quite a bit, although I always imagined another really big family might move into it."

The house was originally built by the Oehlke family, who had 12 children. One of their sons took over the house and had 13 children of his own.

A couple bought the home from the family in 1998 and spent their five years in the house making improvements, before meeting the Kivels and working out a deal with them to move the house off its foundation and onto a two-acre lot the Kivels owned along the Eagle Valley Golf Course.

The moved the six-bedroom, 5,000 square foot farm house was just as difficult as one would imagine, both physically and logistically, Kivel said.

"The city of Woodbury was very cooperative," he said. "They managed to combine some approvals that normally would have taken extra council meetings and they helped us get it done expeditiously."

When the house was physically moved from the property, the city allowed movers to temporarily cut overhead power lines to clear room for the moving process. More than 11,000 homes were out of power during the move.

It was a tough endeavor, but it paid off" Kivel said. "We saved the house and we got to live in it for five years now."

A public open house ceremony Nov. 21 for the home drew more than 200 people, said realtor Chuck Eckberg.

"We had no idea how many people would be interested in seeing the house, so we were very surprised," Eckberg said. "I think they really appreciated all the improvements that the Kivels have made to home while still keeping that historic nature."

Among the improvements made to the home by Jim and Stephanie, were a complete replacement of electrical system, water and waste lines and installation of a security system and wall and ceiling stereo system.

The lower walkout level was refinished with modern amenities, including a media room, a wet bar and a second kitchen.

Neither Jim nor Stephanie had any real estate development experience before they purchased the house, but Jim said they learned a lot in the process.

The home, which is listed for $1.5 million, may not be the only farm house the Kivels attempt to save and improve. The family is looking to the east at some possibilities.

"The work is done here, but I think we've enjoyed it so much, we want to save another one," Kivel said. "We want to go to Afton and save another farmhouse out there, rebuild it and do the same thing."