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The underside of the Cadieux farmhouse hasn't seen the light of day since ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870 prohibiting restrictions on voting rights based on "race, color or previous condition of servitude." photo by Brad Lindberg.

July 17, 2014
CITY OF GROSSE POINTE — Leslie Kaye, Ph.D. psychologist, is crazy about her new house.

"I'm ready to move in tomorrow," she said.

She can't, unless she wants to live in a house propped on stilts over an unfinished foundation.

Kaye's the new owner of the Cadieux farmhouse, the oldest house in the Grosse Pointes.

Movers hauled it Wednesday, July 9, on a trailer from land owned since 2011 by Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, at the corner of Jefferson and Notre Dame to Kaye's lot three blocks away in the 500 block of St. Clair just below St. Paul in the City of Grosse Pointe.

"By tomorrow, it will be set over its final resting place," said Travis Brown, of family-owned B&D Movers, Monroe, not intending to sound morose. "Then, we'll drop footers for the foundation and build up the walls to the house."

It may take three months to complete the installation, including framing and finishing.

"I'll move in as soon as I can," Kaye said.

Beaumont officials paid $80,000 for the move, which cleared the campus for construction of a partially underground, two-story parking deck.

The farmhouse was built in 1850 by Isadore (sometimes Isidore) Cadieux in Detroit.

It was floated by barge to the foot of Bishop in Grosse Pointe Park and relocated in 1870 to Jefferson.

An attached garage was added a generation ago and moved to St. Clair June 26.

Moving the 164-year-old house to St. Clair last week took most of the day.

"There's really no height difference between the garage and house," Brown said. "The house is a little wider at the peak because we're moving it broadside rather than gable-end first."

As with the garage, utility crews raised overhead lines along the route for the 100,000-pound house to pass untangled. Tree trimmers cleared low branches overhanging St. Clair.

Unlike with the garage, movers laid wood planks on a portion of St. Clair to raise the trailer and its overhanging load over a curbside fire hydrant. It cleared the hydrant by less than an inch.

"I'm very pleased that the house is being saved and is going into the hands of somebody who's going to love it and live in it," said Jack McCormick, a vice president of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, watching the move.

"It's pretty exciting," said Kim MacLean, living across the street from the farmhouse's new location. "I love old homes. For them to move this here is pretty cool."

Her son, Kenny, 6, sold lemonade to onlookers for 25 cents per cup.

"I did it one day," he said. "That gave me the idea to do it again."

"This is his history lesson for the day," said his mother.

Kaye gave croissants to bystanders and the moving crew.

"I like to think of myself as a little bit French," she said. "I lived there during my junior year abroad. My internship was in French Canada at Montreal General."

She posed for photographers as the house rolled by the Grosse Pointe Public School's two-story, brick administration building, built in 1906 for classrooms.

"I'm a former actress," Kaye said, "My dad worked his way through medical school as lead singer in his own band. My mom was a former Playboy bunny from the Detroit club. I come by this honestly."

She encourages people to express themselves and leads by example.

"You've got to have fun with your life," Kaye said. "Shake it loose, darlin'."

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