It took just over two hours to move a 207-year-old house Wednesday morning.
The historic 1810 Leib house in Warwick Township was moved 800 feet to its new site at Lot No. 24 of the Lititz Bend development, where eventually it will go up for sale.
But for several months, it looked as though the brick farmhouse that was built by a Revolutionary War veteran would be demolished. Located on a site where the 55+ Traditions of America development wanted to expand, the house didn’t fit into the plans for the development. Officials with Traditions offered to give the house to anyone who would move it. For months, no one took them up on that offer.
Enter Reid and Whit Buckwalter, father and son developers of Lititz Bend, who offered to relocate the house to their development next to the Traditions of America site.
The Leib house had been in the Buckwalter family for more than 40 years and was included in a portion of the Buckwalter farm that was sold to the developers of Traditions of America.
The Buckwalters arranged for building-moving experts Wolfe House & Building Movers in Bernville to transport the house to its new location on West Woods Drive.
In a makeshift meadow, the Buckwalters set up a parking lot for curious people to watch the move. Nearly 100 people came to watch as the house was gradually moved down a gentle slope, across a small stream and up an incline to its final destination.
“They said it would be about two hours, and they are right on schedule,” Whit Buckwalter said.
The house was placed above a poured cement basement floor, the transport wheels were removed, and the house was hoisted up 9 feet, so masons can build the basement walls around it.
Whit Buckwalter said repairs to the porch rails and a new roof would be among the renovations before the house is for sale.
“Haven’t heard from anyone yet, but I think it’s going to look really nice when it’s finished in about two weeks,” Whit Buckwalter said.
Several people watching were especially interested in seeing the house safely moved out of harm’s way.
Dave and Leslie Buckwalter moved into the house when they were married in 1987 and raised their three children there. They moved in 1999.
“We have a lot of fond memories of this house. Our children were born while we lived here, and they loved growing up in this house,” Leslie Buckwalter said.
Dave Buckwalter, who is Reid’s brother, said he was pleased to hear that his brother and nephew are saving the Leib house.
Reid and Whit Buckwalter are beginning construction on the first phase of the Lititz Bend development with a proposed 70 single-family homes. The relocated Leib house will be the first house in the development.
The house originally was built by first-generation Warwick Township settler Michael Groszman for his daughter, Mary, and her husband, John Leib.