In summer any number of houses across the country experience a change of color. In more ambitious circles a few houses might even undergo a change in design. In rarer situations a house might be given a change of name. And in still more unusual circumstances a house will see a change in location. Such was the new lot in the on-going history of the historical Sem House. Since it was situated on the site chosen for the new Dining Commons, the preservation of the building required its relocation. And that move was something to see! For Immanuel’s campus, the event was a first.
Those who have had opportunity to become familiar with the buildings belonging to the original Ingram Estate know that the lumber baron surrounded himself with a first class setting. The elegance of the New England-style mansion and its attending structures was unsurpassed in the Eau Claire area. And the desire to retain this part of the original estate helped prompt the effort to preserve the building.
Of more recent significance, of course, is the fact that Ingram’s “little barn” provided a place for the Seminary faculty and students to hold their first class on the new Wisconsin campus. Though it was, undoubtedly, less cozy and warm than the “boiler room” of Immanuel Church in Mankato (where ILC’s initial seminary classes were held), the Sem House did serve well as the training ground for three decades of CLC pastors.
As remarkable as the process of house moving is, it is not without its drawbacks. It proved to be inevitable that this structure in the “Cape Cod” style would be bruised in the process of the transport (steel beams through the walls, etc.). And the elements of the weather have not been any more kind over the years. As a result, a good deal of repair is now needed, both inside and out, in order for the building to become the historical house it is envisioned to become.
—John Reim, Reporter