August 8, 2011 by wcobserver
By Renee Reed
WEST FORK – For the second time in recent years, the four-way stop at the corner of Main and McKnight streets in West Fork may soon see another major change.
A demolition permit has been obtained by Mike Landa, the present owner of 285 Main street, a Victorian Four Square house built in 1886 which sits on the southwest corner of Main and McKnight Streets.
Landa’s plans for the house are to have it demolished unless someone is willing to move the house.
“Anyone can have it as long as the home is moved off the property. The roof is less than five years old and it is a structurally sound house. All the shrubs and trees are available as well. In the future, I will be putting in a commercial enterprise on that corner and need the house gone,” said Landa.
Mayor Hime reported that West Fork has no historical preservation ordinance. “I would like to see the historic bungalows and Victorians restored and preserved whenever possible. We are lucky to have so many in our town,” said Hime.
If this 125 year old house is demolished, it will the second home to be eliminated from the four-way stop in the past two years. In 2009, the house which sat at 280 Main, built in 1885 by Jacob Yoes, was razed by the City of West Fork after it fell into disrepair.
Landa, who serves as Chairman for the West Fork Planning Commission, said that his preference would be to see the house moved. Landa moved to West Fork in 2007 from Alaska after finding his current home on Ebay. In Alaska, he said he was involved in the preservation of historical buildings, log cabins and train cars through the Alaska Land State Parks system and the Fairbanks Historical Society.
Neighbors fondly remember the families who lived in the home at 285 Main Street over the years. Duane and his brother Doyle Baker purchased the home in the early 1970’s. Doyle Baker reported he and his brother bought the home for their aging parents, Ted and Alice Baker, and moved them in from the family homestead in Woolsey.
Patty Baker, grand-daughter by marriage, remembered hearing stories of how Alice learned her love of oil painting by attending classes in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church across the street.
“It is so sweet to think of the connection between the home and the church,” said Baker.
Beverly Elliott, who lived the street from the home on McKnight Street remembers fondly her playmate Ann, who resided at 285 Main with her parents Helen and George Freeze in the early fifties.
“We went to the elementary together,” said Elliott.
Gary Culp, who has recently started the West Fork Historical Society, said he would appreciate any photos or information pertaining to the early history of this home. Culp may be reached at 479-389-2696.
Landa encourages anyone interested in moving the home it to a new location, to contact him at 360-913-0194.