Built in 1906, the Victorian home had been commissioned by James Cram, the son of Lewis Cram, an early settler of the Crafton Hills/Highland area. As the property changed owners through the years, it also changed functions, serving as a convent and a boarding house. By the 1970s, it had fallen into disrepair and was targeted for demolition. It was offered for sale, but the new owner would have to move it.
Nola Houle toured the house and fell in love with it. Her family snapped it up and, in 1976, moved it to a five-acre orange grove at the corner of Baseline and Boulder in Highland. At the time, it was a quiet, remote spot.
Fast forward to 2007. No longer remote, the area was bustling with growth and a developer came knocking. That five acres was perfect for commercial and retail space. He wasn’t really interested in the house.
“He came back three times before we finally considered an offer,” says Larry Houle, Nola’s husband. The developer could buy the land, but the Houles wanted to keep the house, which meant it would have to move—again. They met with a city engineer, located a house mover, and finally agreed to sell the land.
On July 28, 2007, the 250,000-pound, 100-year-old home was driven 1.8 miles to a 2.79-acre elevated lot in East Highland Ranch.
Today, the four-level, 5,220-plus-square-foot home retains its original charm, but also features modern appliances and amenities, such as a heated pool with a waterfall, fire feature, wading area and Jacuzzi.
With the home’s future secure, the Houles are ready to downsize. The historic Victorian is for sale by owner for $1.6 million. www.thevictorianclassic.com