Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Chris Reighard has been in the moving business for 28 years.
While most movers move contents from one home to another, Reighard — and his company, Goodwin House Moving in Washington — move actual houses.
Reighard said that they move buildings from one site to another, as well as jacking up houses so new foundations can be put in place.
One of the company’s projects — a home at 510 S. Iowa Ave. in Washington — caught the attention of many passersby.
Reighard said that his crew jacked up the home so the homeowner could install a new foundation.
“He can finish it off and make bedrooms down there,” he said. “Before, he couldn’t do that. The walls were kind of falling in and leaked real bad.
“The ceilings were only six foot. Now, he’s got nine-foot walls where he can finish it off real nice.”
Reighard explained the process of jacking up a home for a new foundation.
“We build four pilings in there where the main load will be, then make a gridwork of steel,” he said. “You bow your steel, shim it up and jack it up with hydraulics.
“We raise it two or three feet higher than the new foundation is going to be, so they have room to pour the new foundation.”
While they do not install the new foundation, they do dig everything out to make the site ready for the foundation work.
Once the new foundation is complete, Reighard and his crew come back and set the house back down on it.
Reighard said that foundation replacement can be a good option for people with older homes.
“There’s all these old houses, and they’re in pretty good shape,” he said. “But, their foundations aren’t good enough. It’s cheaper to build under for tax purposes than building out or building a new house.”
Typically, raising a house costs about $20,000 to $25,000.
“Most jobs that we do are $20,000 to $25,000, where we raise it up and dig it completely out,” he said. “Concrete used to be about the same. If you can get your house raised for $20,000-$25,000, you can probably pour concrete for $20,000-$25,000.”
The process of moving a home is essentially the same as raising one.
“We do the same thing, but we also roll it to the side and put wheels and truck under it,” Reighard said. “We get to the new site, roll it off and set it back down.”
A typical move costs about the same as raising a house because they do not have to dig out the site.
In his years of house moving, Reighard has had some difficult jobs.
“We did some in Marion last year during the storm,” he said. “We had a couple brick ones that we were moving. Brick ones are a bit more difficult.”
The largest building he could recall moving was 90 feet long by 68 feet wide.
The longest distance they have moved a building was 90 miles, which took two days.
Moving a home from one site to another involves a lot of detailed planning.
“We have to get permits, and we’ve got to line up all the utility companies and police escorts,” he said.
According to the company’s website, Goodwin House Moving was founded in 1930 by Bill Goodwin. Soon after, his brother, John, took over the business.
Some of the equipment John Goodwin used at this time, were his team of horses, hard maple wheels and steel wheels.
Reighard is the fifth generation of the family to own and operate the business.
He purchased the business in 2019 from his former father-in-law, Rick Goodwin.
Reighard bought the business with an eye on continuing the family tradition.
His 15-year-old son, Colben, has already taken an interest in the business.
“My son really wants to do it,” Reighard said. “He would be the sixth generation.”