John Earnshaw guides a truck while moving the Shawnee Town barn in December. The barn is a fraction of the size of many structures he’s moved over the years.
The primary equipment Earnshaw used to move the Shawnee Town buildings is the same as house movers might have used in the 1930s and 1940s -- 20-ton hydraulic jacks with hand pumps, railroad ties and a few strong backs.
Earnshaw eyes the cribs underneath the Shawnee Town barn, prior to lowering the barn onto a flatbed trailer.
Working in sync, John Earnshaw and Joe Dickerson Sr. pump the jacks beneath the barn to lift it enough that the truck can drive out from underneath it. After setting up slidesticks -- a pair of steel beams positioned perpendicular to the ones the barn is resting on -- the men will coat them with Ivory bar soap and slide the barn over its new foundation. The final step is lowering it, accomplished with jacks and cribbing blocks just like the lifting process.