In the past, it was often less labor-intensive to move a home or community building than it was to build a new one. Why was that? Well, many people in the Valley had a team of horses or oxen. If a particular household didn’t have a team then you can be assured that many of the neighbors did. It was relatively easy to find multiple teams and arrange for the owners to assist for a day in moving a home to a new location. It was much more difficult and time consuming to venture to the canyon, select trees to cut down, bring those logs back to the Valley and then arrange for a sawmill to turn those logs into lumber. Teams of horses were plentiful, sawmills were not.

Men and at least 6 teams of horses move a shed.

Those folks who called Francis home of all the towns in Kamas Valley had a propensity for moving buildings. This may be due to the lack of a canyon immediately adjacent to Francis.

Houses were not the only buildings that were moved. Sometime around 1900, it was decided that the Francis School needed some additional space. A saloon building in Kamas was purchased and moved to Francis and attached to the west side of the existing school. It can be assumed that drinks were no longer served…

Another report tells that in 1915 the Francis Relief Society needed a building of its own. The ladies purchased an old schoolhouse (possibly part of the above mentioned schoolhouse as a new building was built in 1914), and moved it near the existing church. The ever-industrious women cleaned and repaired the building until it was fit for their needs. When not in use for Relief Society meetings, the hall was rented to others for $5.00 per month. In 1921, the group purchased a lot for $10.00 and moved the building there.

Francis Relief Society Hall

How exactly did someone go about moving a house or building? While the process was fairly straightforward and the mechanics quite simple, the task was not exactly simple. A building was first jacked up off of the ground. This had to be done with levers or in later times with a mechanical jack. Blocking was added to keep the raised portion off the ground. At this point, a decision had to be made regarding the manner in which the building would be conveyed. Skids could be used, or large logs could be placed under the building to act as wheels. Both options had benefits and drawbacks. Skids worked well in areas that had hard-packed ground where the skids wouldn’t sink or were not prone to digging the front end into the earth. Logs had the benefit of being easier for the animals to move the building but the buildings would be pulled off the log rollers and the rear logs would have to be moved constantly to the front of the building.

Movers taking a break for lunch.

Several of the early homes in Francis were moved more than once from one location to another. Barney and Gussie Thomas moved their home onto a ten-acre lot they purchased as late as 1937-38.

Barney Thomas moving his home

Below is a collection of homes that Steve Brown identified as having been moved in his book, “Francis, Utah: Sesquicentennial Celebration 1865-2015, A Brief Essay of the Past.

Prescott Home
Another Prescott Home
Mitchell Home
Gines Home – moved from Francis to Kamas


  • Bev Bemis
  • “Francis, Utah: A Brief Essay of the Past” by Steve Brown
  • Deb Lambert
  • “Echoes of Yesterday” by Summit County DUP