Monroe Mansion on the move

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 11:51 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 12:10 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Mandi Lamb/Daily News)
The Monroe Mansion was purchased last year by Sherri Meeker, and is being relocated to prevent its destruction.

The Maple Hill Farm, also known as the Monroe Mansion, has been in Jasper County since 1860. It is currently in the process of being moved and is sitting along the highway.

Adam Johnson bought the property last year. He knew that finding a buyer for the house may be difficult.

“I bought the property last March,” Johnson said. “The house deal has been in the works for several months.”

He found a buyer for the property from Missouri named Sherri Meeker. Meeker plans on keeping the home in Jasper County, and even has family in the area.

One issue that Meeker is facing are ground conditions. With the house weighing as much as it does, ground conditions must be solid.

The house moving process is difficult. First, the ground underneath the house is extracted. This allows for room to expand downward. Next, the new flooring and foundation are poured. The home is then placed on its new foundation, but the foundation of the original house might be damaged. This can provide some trouble, but the house is already on a platform and is expected to be at its new location soon.

Meeker has a strong love of history, which she said was a reason for her decision to purchase the home. The house had been purchased at a discounted rate, but the real challenge was moving it.

“It’s worthy of being saved,” Meeker said. “I kind of felt that if somebody didn’t buy it, someone would bulldoze it.”

She said it may take a few years to make the house livable, because she will be renovating it on her own.

Johnson listed the house for a very low price, and the ad mentioned that the house must be bought as a whole, or salvaged. If no one bought it, the house would have been destroyed.

The cost to restore the house would have been more expensive than building his new one.

Currently, Johnson’s property has a giant hole in it. He plans to build his new home behind where the original house was located.

In the book “Heritage Tour of Jasper County,” Joseph Long is identified as the original owner. The house originally featured arched windows, projected hoods and pointed gothic windows. There were also three false windows, which was a popular trend during the 19th century.

The home did see a change of ownership through the years, including Charles Long, who happened to be the son of Joseph Long. He became the owner in 1903, and was quoted in the Newton Record, dated Jan. 16, 1902, “Maple Hill Farm will remain in the Long Family.”

One of the more recent owners was Ulrie Clevenger of Monroe

The house is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is featured in the book “Haunted Iowa.”

In the book, it states, “Over the years, many people have seen apparitions at the old mansion. Mists often rise from the floor to the ceiling.”

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.

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