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Schmit House Movers of Wyndmere ending 86-year run in region

After decades of moving hundreds of homes and barns up and down the region, the Schmits are calling it a career.

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Schmidt House Moving from Wyndmere, North Dakota is closing down after 86 years of moving homes.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News
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HANKINSON, N.D. — If you've ever been stopped on a highway or country road to make way for a house move, there is a good chance the Schmit family out of Wyndmere was in charge.

On the shores of Lake Elsie, Tuesday, June 28, it was a perfect day for a house move. The Schmit brothers, Tony and Nick, were bracing and raising a lake home on its way to a lot across the lake.

This family knows all about house moving. They started the business in 1936.

"20 years ago there was probably close to 15 to 20 movers in North Dakota, now there's probably five," said Tony Schmit, whose grandfather started the business in 1938.

We have witnessed Schmit house moves going back more than 25 years. Like when an old Victorian house had a ride from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to Fargo.

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Over the years, Schmit was the go-to business for house moves, but this summer is it for them.

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Image of a Victorian house that Schmit House Movers moved from Fergus Falls to Fargo.
WDAY file image
After the recent loss of her son, a Fergus Falls mom has helped start a Pride Festival.

"They (father and grandfather) didn't have any winch trucks. They had to roll the beams up on the dollies by hand, to load stuff. It was tough," Nick Schmit, said. "I guess everybody has to slow down sometime, but it is tough to walk away from it."

This building that was being moved on Tuesday weighted about 10 tons, but Schmit has moved buildings over the years weighing in at 100 tons.

LaVonne Althoff came to watch the move. Schmitt moved her family home 50 years ago.

"It was a three story (house). It came out of a Sears catalog. Built in 1912," LaVonne said.

After a lot of cribbing, jacking and measuring, the Lake Elsie Heitkamp cabin made it from shore to the gravel road. Another successful move. One of the last moves for the Schmit family.

An auction is planned for next year to sell the family business' lot of trucks and equipment.

"It is going to be tough," Tony Schmit said.

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Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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