House moved over frozen lake

A 60-ton house was rolled across a stretch of lake ice this morning in the east metro, leaving behind a few cracks but disappointing any of the onlookers who may have been secretly hoping to see a frigid splash of historic proportions.

The two-story home left White Bear Lake's Manitou Island on dollies with 64 tires and was winched across the 100-yard-wide channel to Matoska Park.

A huge tow truck on the mainland began pulling with a cable the gray wood-frame home shortly after 10 a.m. It made landfall in about 25 minutes as about 100 onlookers gazed at the spectacle under a bright sun on a chilly and windy day.

"How many times do you get to see a house on the ice?" said Monty Fagnan, of Lino Lakes. Fagnan's buddy Randy Larson, of White Bear Lake, joked that it was the biggest ice house he ever saw and fantasized about using it for fishing.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, owned by Doug Kraemer of Kraemer Contruction, was moved to make way for new housing, said Terry Semple of Semple Building Movers of St. Paul.

From the park's parking lot, the house will be relocated just a couple of blocks away in a neighborhood west of the shallow channel.

"It was pretty cool," said Sara Hanson, on the scene in her role as executive director of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society. "It's the first time I've seen anything come across the ice of this magnitude."

Hanson walked out onto the channel after the move and detected "some good-sized cracks" caused by the house, "but I don't think that was shocking."

A few hours before the move, Semple acknowledged having never tried such a project before, but, "We were able to get some insurance, and now we can try to make a go of it."

He said he tested the ice regularly and thickened it by pumping water on to the surface. He estimated that there was about 24 inches of ice. The dollies spread out the weight of the house and kept it from crashing through.