The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Community

August 31, 2013

Building a house block by block

ANDERSON – All Mike Harlan really wanted was a four-car garage. On the path to his seemingly simple dream, he and his wife, Kathy, ended up with the project of a lifetime.

“We didn’t plan to build a house,” said Kathy, a collection officer for Lampco Federal Credit Union. “But all the houses that had four-car garages had no house. Then we came to an open house near here and when we went to the back porch, we felt like we went on vacation.”

Enthralled with the view overlooking Killbuck Lake, the couple had a new idea – but it still wasn’t quite to the point of building a house.

“He saw the walls that were built around the other homes along the water and he wanted to build a wall,” she said. “He and a friend, Dick Wolfgang, built all the walls in the back.”

That may not sound too complicated – until you realize that 4,250 blocks (each weighing 90 pounds) were used in the elaborate construction. Kathy leafed through a picture album showing the two-man team excavating the land, erecting the walls and building tubes to feed the concrete for the walkway.

“We had the option of buying this lot or one that didn’t need any work,” said Mike, retired from UPS and now working for his son’s company, Ezenics. “I wanted the challenge of building the wall. I thought it would be good stress relief – since I worked in management. Some people fish – I work. After a couple of weekends I wondered if I made the right decision.”

Lists in importance

An excessive amount of rain slowed progress and Mike thought about throwing in the towel. But instead he stuck to it and has an impressive back yard to show for his labors.

“We had no plan for the house,” said Kathy. “We figured after he built the wall, we could sell the lot if we wanted to.”

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