sesker

Mikol Sekser spins out of a hug with house mover Billy Bell after he delivered her new house from the Central College campus to her land southwest of Attica.

ATTICA — For Mikol Sesker — and the house she’ll call home — Oct. 25 was a homecoming.

Just shy of 3 o’clock on a gray Thursday afternoon, the 110-ton house emerged on the northern horizon, creeping along on the back of a massive trailer.

“ OK, I see it!” shouts Jane Sesker, as her daughter’s new house grew from a speck. Sesker’s grandchildren jump around her, peering to see what she does.

The 104-year-old house moved about 24 miles from the Central College campus in Pella, but its journey was as deep as it was far.

Once known as the Boardwalk House, it needed safety upgrades that were too expensive for Central. The Historic Pella Trust came up with a plan to find an owner who’d move it from Broadway and University streets and give it a new life.

Jane Sesker and her husband, David, attended an open house and encouraged Mikol to add her name to the list of potential owners.

Fast-forward, Mikol is now a mile away in a flashing, beeping caravan that escorts the massive house. It’s light blue, but that’s the only thing that’s light about it.

It takes nearly an hour to wind south the final mile or so to her 20-acre site southwest of Attica. Her four nieces and nephews wait, anxiously waving checkered flags as a tribute to the sprint car racing exploits of house mover Billy Bell.

Bell’s crew isn’t burning rubber as it turns onto a makeshift driveway on Sesker’s land. But she’s zipping around as fast as the kids, caught up in the excitement.

“I am ecstatic!” she gushes. “It’s still surreal! It was surreal when we pulled it out, and it still is.

“To watch it go down the highway, over the river, and over the railroad and all this way. It’s amazing! To actually see it here, it’s even bigger on site than it looked when it sat at Central.”

Sesker’s plans for the site are big as well. The house will be the hub of Mint ‘N More Farms, where she’ll use organic permaculture techniques to grow produce for her family and market sales. Mikol will move from Henderson, Nevada, and her home will be used to teach visitors about growing techniques, she says.

She and her siblings, Nate and Megan, grew up in Norwalk, not farming, but dreaming about it. When Nate was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, he nudged his sisters to get moving on the plan. Mikol purchased the site, and Nate created buffer zones and planting beds before he died in May 2017.

The house’s arrival brought the dream closer to reality, minus Nate.

“He probably would have thought this is an absolutely crazy idea because it’s such a massive project and there are so many things that could go wrong,” Sesker says. “But this is also what he saw for this property. Something that’s a showcase, that we can tell the story of, that we can link our story in with.

“I think he’d be very excited and very proud!”

Delanie Donovan contributed to this report.

Pat Finan is the editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express and Pella Chronicle. He can be reached at 641-295-0624 or via email at editor@journalexpress.net or editor@pellachronicle.com