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Old farmhouse finds new home

By Mark Wineka

Salisbury Post

The house took up all four lanes and inched up Statesville Boulevard Wednesday morning like an old battleship making its last voyage.

Truth was, the house was headed for a new home and a rebirth, all courtesy of Jane Nussman.

The battleship comparison wasn’t lost on her.

As the house moved closer to its new resting spot, Nussman hopped into her SUV and soon returned with some champagne.

She wanted to christen the house when it was finally on its new lot.

“If my stomach makes it through to lunchtime, I’ll be OK,” Nussman said of the eventful morning.

As moves go, this one went well — with one truck hauling most of one house.

It passed under utility lines and around poles without mishap. It hit a minor snag by dragging bottom on its turn from Statesville Boulevard onto Brandon Drive.

Farther down on Brandon, several street signs and mailboxes had to be uprooted and put back in place later to make way for the wide load.

The going also was slow across the back of the Milford Hills United Methodist Church parking lot, as the movers kept putting boards down in front of the rig to protect the pavement from the heavy house.

Still, the battleship reached its new port of call at 1612 Bellevue Road by early afternoon.

When it’s finally straightened out and dropped into place, Nussman can start her restoration of the former Kirkpatrick farm house with hopes that she’ll find a buyer after it’s finished.

Nussman said the house, built in 1940, simply has “good bones,” and she couldn’t bear to see it lost.

“This was just a traditional, Southern-styled house, and I wanted to preserve it,” said Nussman, a 30-year educational diagnostician who specializes in exceptional children.

She still works part time for the school system but has made a second career out of finding houses, breathing new life into them and keeping them as investment properties.

But this was Nussman’s first house move, and Kepley Grading and House Moving made it possible,

So did Bill Wagoner and his partners, who will be developing Milbrook Medical Park on the 6-acre tract where the Kirkpatrick farm house had stood for several generations.

Nussman remembered driving by the house as a child and seeing a riding academy, barns in the back and jumping rails. She loved to see the horses and adored the house. To her it was the quintessential summer cottage with its four columns and an expansive, slate porch meant for easy conversations.

“It could have been on the cover of any magazine at any time,” she said.

Nussman asked Wagoner, a longtime friend, whether she could look at the house and maybe move it, if she liked what she saw. She did. Wagoner talked with his partners, and Nussman’s search started for a new site.

She eventually found an 85-foot wide lot behind Milford Hills United Methodist that was owned by Linwood Miller.

Weeks of digging footings, dismantling the garage, cutting off a portion of the roof and hoping the weather would cooperate followed.

Moving day finally arrived, and one could understand Nussman’s excitement when the truck pulled the house down its hill across from Johnny Lewis’ service station and onto Statesville Boulevard.

“Look at that house move,” she shouted. “C’mon, honey.”

Tom Wilson will serve as Nussman’s contractor. Her restoration will add two upstairs bedrooms and a bathroom.

The downstairs has good-sized rooms, Nussman said. It includes a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, a back porch that can be used for a laundry and a den with knotty pine paneling.

The size of the house is deceiving, offering about 2,100 square feet.

Nussman will put on a new roof, rebuild the front porch and redo the whole kitchen. It’s one of the few times Nussman will restore a home and look to sell it immediately.

Her fascination with preserving older homes started about seven years ago when she tackled her current home on Mitchell Avenue in Fulton Heights.

She describes it as “a real serious renovation that just about killed me.”

But she caught the fever, and her property interests spread to four other locations in Fulton Heights.

“The neighborhood has meant something to me all my life,” she said. She also has interests in two other properties elsewhere in Salisbury.

She blames genetics — a grandfather who was a home builder and cabinet maker — for her passion in saving and restoring houses.

Nussman said a whole lot of different people came together to make Wednesday’s move possible.

“And I’m extremely appreciative of all of them,” she said.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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